In other news… speed cameras and does online campaigning work?

Jonathan Calder reports how Cornish councillor Jeremy Rowe is finding Twitter useful as a way to communicate with residents in his area who are hard to reach through traditional politics. Cllr Rowe’s local experience compliments the message that Google search data gives about people wanting to find politicians on Twitter. (If you are a councillor or local candidate and wondering how to build-up your own local following, see The secret to getting 1,000 ward residents to follow you on Twitter.)

Speed cameraPaul Walter reports on speed cameras: “After an eight month switch-off, the 72 speed cameras in Oxfordshire will be switched back on at 9 o’clock this morning. The switch-off coincided with an increase in road deaths (12 to 18 comparing the six months with the previous same period), collisions and serious injuries”. That mirrors the evidence of research into speed cameras which (even after allowing for the issue of regression to the mean) finds they work to cut accidents, though the quality of the evidence is moderate at best rather than high.

Given the controversies at times over campaigns from the likes of 38 Degress, based on mass email list building and online petitions, a recent post about their Australian cousins, GetUp!, is of interest:

I saw a tweet on my Twitter feed from someone about a discounted pair of jeans. “They were $70 a pair. Just got some for $30.” It was followed by the hash-tag #ThanksGetUp. It made me giggle so I did a search by that tag and found dozens of tweets thanking GetUp! for everything from improving their remote control to organising Lionel Richie’s hit song ‘All Night Long’ to follow a Hall and Oates medley.

We’d be mistaken to make too much of a hashtag but this one sheds some interesting light on perceptions about online activism. The implication is that organisations such as GetUp! can be mocked for the claims it makes about its successes — even as it provides little evidence of them…

When GetUp! claims credit for the campaigns that are successful, is it drawing attention away from other organisations with different campaigning tactics…

Here lies the challenge for GetUp!: to sign something is easy, to stand up against the shock-jock inspired loony right is much harder. We need organisations like GetUp! to keep sharing information and inspiring aspiring activists.but can they transform 441,959 online signatories into active members?

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This entry was posted in News and Online politics.
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