Steve Webb MP in “Facebook surgery” first

Steve Webb, Liberal Democrat MP for Northavon, held a “drop in surgery” with a difference this morning – on social networking website Facebook.

He’d advertised the time in advance, to his 3,867 Facebook friends: “Steve will be online on Facebook Chat tomorrow (Thursday) between 11 and 11.30am. Log on and chat if you want to raise anything with me.”

This morning around 200 of them – a mixture of constituents, party members and others – were online for the chat session. Steve likened the experience to “one of those plate-spinning acts that you see on variety shows on the TV”. (Fortunately, he types fast!)

Shortly afterwards, I spoke to Steve, who declared the experiment a success. I asked him why he chose Facebook’s live chat facility.

“It was instant: people asked short questions and I could immediately clarify any points. I found it very efficient as it broke down barriers. It’s helpful being where people are, in the idiom that they’re used to.”

When participants raised points which needed further follow-up, Steve asked them to send him a private Facebook message so that he could get to work on the details afterwards.

Steve took part in a live Q&A session with Lib Dem Voice back in December, using “Cover it Live.” I asked him how the two live chats differed.

“The Cover it Live Session was more intense: that had technical questions about global warming and subjects relating to my role then as climate change and energy spokesperson.

“Today’s session was more chatty and a friendly introduction. Also Cover it Live was public whereas this was a series of private conversations.

“The people I was chatting with couldn’t see each other’s questions and so I was able to deal with each person in confidence – just like my regular face-to-face constituency surgery.”

Steve said that he hasn’t heard of any other MPs conducting a Facebook surgery, but left me with this thought:

“I wonder whether today has been the start of something: Do you think one day all MPs will be doing this as part of their regular contact with constituents?”

Read more on Steve’s own blog: The Webb Log.

Read more by or more about or .
This entry was posted in News and Online politics.
Advert

2 Comments

  • Just to let you know – this is definitely not “private” although it feels like it.

    Facebook can take this material and use it to build up part of the profile they have on you. They can use this to sell your personality to advertisers.

Post a Comment

Lib Dem Voice welcomes comments from everyone but we ask you to be polite, to be on topic and to be who you say you are. You can read our comments policy in full here. Please respect it and all readers of the site.

If you are a member of the party, you can have the Lib Dem Logo appear next to your comments to show this. You must be registered for our forum and can then login on this public site with the same username and password.

To have your photo next to your comment please signup your email address with Gravatar.

Your email is never published. Required fields are marked *

*
*
Please complete the name of this site, Liberal Democrat ...?

Advert



Recent Comments

  • User AvatarRichard Underhill 23rd Aug - 10:12am
    The Liberal Democrats could consider supporting a move in the Welsh Assembly for representatives to job-share. Caroline Lucas job-shares the leadership of the Green Party,...
  • User Avatarexpats 23rd Aug - 10:04am
    Yes! She was right to resign...Not because of what she said but because she felt that having said what needed to be said the backlash,...
  • User AvatarJohn Probert 23rd Aug - 10:01am
    The EU is a common trading area, which implies freedom of movement for both people and goods in order to make it a level playing...
  • User AvatarRichard Underhill 23rd Aug - 9:58am
    https://simple.wikipedia.org/wiki/Treaty_of_Rawalpindi which was before the Atlee government accepted that India should be independent. We are currently seeing reviews of the effects of partition, massive loss...
  • User AvatarAndrew McCaig 23rd Aug - 9:49am
    It is an amazing commentary on the Trump regime that renewed military involvement in Afghanistan is seen as somehow sensible!
  • User AvatarNeil Sandison 23rd Aug - 9:45am
    Europe needs GB more than ever at this point in time with the refugee crisis from the countries we and our American allies did much...