From faceless government to Facebook government
2010 intake of MPs will be the most technologically-savvy yet
Facebook and twitter will become be two of the core ways that constituents communicate with their MPs following the election, according to research by PR firm Fishburn Hedges.
Facebook now plays a central role in the election campaigns of prospective parliamentary candidates (PPCs). But, they also plan to take top social media tools into Westminster.
The vast majority (83%) of candidates are using Facebook in their campaigns, while just half (50%) say that they use Twitter in the same way, showing a more divided approach to using the microblogging service.
The new wave of ‘future MPs’ say they intend to use social networking tools such as Facebook, Twitter and blogs to communicate with their constituents if they are elected to the House (84%). And once an MP, 82% of candidates say that they would treat communications from constituents received through social media such as Twitter and Facebook with the same priority as those received by letter or email.
The indicative research, carried out by ComRes on behalf of Fishburn Hedges, was designed to gauge candidates’ use of new technologies, as well as their intended use should they be elected to the Commons later this year.
Simon Redfern, associate director at Fishburn Hedges says:
“A lot of new candidates have really embraced social media tools and talk to their constituents using these channels. But what’s good for the campaign may not work as well in power.
“New candidates are innovating with the tools available. You only have to look at Charlie Elphicke’s use of Chat Map, Chuka Umunna’s YouTube channel and Stella Creasy’s Facebook page to see how modern political campaigning is changing.”
Further findings show:
• Female candidates are more likely to favour the use of social networking both in their current campaigns and in their future intentions for work as an MP, with 65% using Twitter in their campaigns, compared to 44% of male candidates.
• Candidates for each of the three main parties tend to use Facebook in their campaigning equally, however Conservative Candidates are less likely to use Twitter.
• Only a quarter of Candidates follow political blogs using an RSS reader (24%).