How are Lib Dem councillors using Twitter/Facebook?

Today’s Times reports on the growth of Twitter and Facebook among councillors, noting in particular the work of one Lib Dem councillor/blogger, Daisy Benson:

Daisy Benson, a Liberal Democrat member of Reading Borough Council, used Facebook to encourage young people to take part in a scrutiny review of the standard of private rented housing in the area. “I used it because the issue we were looking at particularly affected students and young people and it’s a good way to reach them.”

Benson set up a Facebook group and listed the consultation questions. The group attracted more than 80 members. Among them was a local student, Neal Brown, who says that it was the first time he had taken part in a council initiative. “Facebook makes it easier for young people and students to get involved. While joining relatively silly groups about TV shows and such like, they are also joining groups with serious intent.”

Benson adds: “I’m certainly trying to impress on my council that using Facebook is a good thing to do. It’s cheap and it reaches a lot of people but it wouldn’t be suitable for every issue or every audience.”

The use of social networking by councillors (and MPs) is frequently highlighted here on LDV – but what are the best examples you’ve seen, whether by Lib Dems or by other parties?

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5 Comments

  • James

    You mean LGA elections – not GLA.

    “Gunking up Facebook” for the GLA elections will probably happen next year….

  • Andrew Suffield 30th Jun '09 - 5:19pm

    Certainly a good thing to get people more involved, but it’s important to realise that:

    (a) “use facebook” or “use twitter” is not how you do it
    (b) failing to use internet services is not the problem

    You get people involved by reaching out to them in terms they can understand on issues that they care about. Daisy Benson happened to do this using facebook, but it didn’t work *because* she used facebook. The people who are using it to promote their candidacies have failed to understand this – they think that the medium is what matters, and they’re annoying people because their message is annoying.

    You don’t need to use web sites to do it, either (although they can be an effective communication tool). What you do need to do is address the root problem: it is too hard for people to get involved, usually because you’ve been running around building barriers to stop them. By all means use the web, but why do you have those barriers in the first place?

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