Tag Archives: social media

A young person’s ideas for a better online Lib Dem presence

The digital profile of the Liberal democrats is not making use of the huge opportunities the internet provides. I am a young Liberal Democrat who is often annoyed at our lack of digital presence as a party. This is a time where, due to our small number of MPs, we aren’t often appearing on the mainstream media and so it is the best possible time to start creating media of our own. A strong social media presence has two key benefits for the party. It will solidify our base of support with current members and simultaneously attract new ones.

The main problem with our current social media strategy seems to me to be a lack of tailoring to each individual platform so with that in mind here would be my recommendations for each platform.

YouTube

 Perhaps the greatest untapped goldmine the Lib Dems have is YouTube. The thing one must understand about YouTube is its current trend towards long form content. An example of this would be the series of interviews done by James O’Brien for Joe.co.uk. One recent interview was with Nick Clegg and gained 26 thousand viewers yet cost almost nothing to produce.

Why doesn’t the party dig out a camera, a microphone, have a young party member sit down and interview each MP for an hour. If it only gets a few thousand views no money has been wasted and a few thousand people have had the chance to listen to a Liberal Democrat point of view. Produce a podcast version of it and release that too. If Ed Miliband’s podcast can get 100,000 downloads surely, we can get into the marketplace too.

An important thing to remember is the right are already doing this, look at the recent news on UKIP or a half an hour interview with Katie Hopkins that gained 300 thousand views. This is an untapped goldmine of exposure, crucially aimed at a younger audience, that we are wasting.

Twitter

The twitter presence for the Liberal Democrats is on the whole good, the Lib Dem Press Office account being the highlight. The thing to remember about twitter is it is the opposite of YouTube. On YouTube users sit for hours watching long form content but twitter is about short, snappy and if possible humorous posts. I would change two things, firstly make our tweets funny, punchy and sharable to attract more people and gain more publicity. We need more “Stalin to Mr Bean” type tweets. Secondly, and this may seem a small detail, subtitle our twitter videos. People use twitter when they’re on the bus or walking down the street and so often won’t listen to the audio of videos, every Labour party video is subtitled for this reason, we need that too.

Reddit

Posted in News | 21 Comments

On the effects of social media on young people

Moral hazard or moral panic? Is social media warping the fragile minds of our children or is it the end of the atomised individual and the rediscovery of community? Is it a bit of both, and what might be done to improve the mix?

Baroness Floella Benjamin writes of her work on these questions through the APPG on a fit and health childhood, and Norman Lamb MP explains how the Science and Technology select committee is also looking at this.

This interest is perhaps to be feared and welcomed in equal measure. Feared, because the knee jerk response to moral …

Posted in LibLink | 9 Comments

Has social media compromised liberty?

Do we lose the right to privacy when we involve ourselves in social media? The obvious answer to this question is “of course not” and that should be the case, but is it?

Facebook, a business that started around 2004, has announced it has over half of all internet users in the world on it; in six years Twitter had over 100 million users. Recently, the US State Department asked Twitter not to carry out regular maintenance during the recent demonstrations in Iran as information was being disseminated through Twitter. A similar use was made of Facebook during the uprising in Egypt. Social media platforms on the face of it can be a profoundly pro-liberty force. John Stuart Mill wrote about liberty as freedom not only from coercion by the government but also from the constraints of social conventions, so is social media the answer?

Unfortunately, social media companies focus really on advertising. Google, for example, generates 23% of all US advertising revenue, more than twice that of all print media. The ever-increasing user base of social networking sites tends to require your name, date of birth, and in many cases education and employment details. Many identity thieves tend to hack their victim’s email accounts by simply using the personal information available from such sites and, for example, use the “Forget Password” facility or get access using spyware. Selling data to advertisers is lucrative and this is being done by social media companies and unscrupulous people.

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GINI Coefficient – is it really a measure of Press Power?

The Gini* coefficient provides an index to measure inequality. A measure of 0 shows everybody is equal, and 1 where the country’s income is earned by a single person. Allianz calculated (in 2015) each country’s wealth Gini coefficient and found the U.S. had the most wealth inequality, with a score of 0.80. As a comparison Rome’s top 1% controlled 16% of the wealth (compared to America’s 40%, today) with a Gini coefficient of 0.44.

How can a modern, educated, democratic society allow such a massive discrepancy in the distribution of wealth? The distribution of news (TV, Radio, Newspapers, Magazines etc.) …

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Toby Young is taught a valuable lesson, that free speech is not without consequence

It is an unexpected coincidence that, having written a piece on these pages suggesting that a more mutually respectful dialogue might be a good thing, the whole Toby Young story hit the headlines. And, let’s be honest, he has made his reputation by means of saying things likely to offend in order to attract attention. Now, apparently, these repeated offences were “sophomoric and silly”, and thus should be excused so that he might take up a place on the board of the new Office for Students.

I’m not the first person to suggest that he really isn’t a fit person to …

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WATCH: Christine Jardine on the “mindless, vindictive” online attacks she endured on day of her husband’s funeral

One of the most awful points of the General Election was seeing Christine Jardine coming under attack from a whole load of people online. They’d accused her of breaking the campaign pause in Edinburgh West. She had, in fact, been at her husband’s funeral. Even when they were told the situation, they kept going and kept throwing even more abuse. It was shameful.

This afternoon, in a debate on online abuse in the House of Commons, Christine spoke very powerfully about those experiences. Sure, politicians were going to be subject to disagreement and comment but nobody signs up for intimidation and abuse.

I thought that she made some really sensitive and intelligent comments about mental health, too. She outlined how social media could be a force for good for those who suffered from mental ill health and how it could really help with isolation. I actually know that from my own experience. Back in 2009, Twitter kept me going when I was laid low for months by Glandular Fever. That was in the early days when it was a lovely place to be. I actually made some friends on there who became friends in real life. But social media also has a potential to do much harm to mental health if people were subjected to abuse and bullying.

Last year I wrote of my own experience of online abuse and how it came pretty close to breaking my spirit.

Here is Christine’s speech in full. The text is below.

Mr Speaker sir thank you for calling me to speak in a debate which, for me, has such personal resonance.

During the most recent General Election I was one of those who discovered just how easily an on line platform can be used to spread hurtful or personally abusive lies.

My experience – which is far from the worst example – actually started with something I originally put down to a genuine mistake or misunderstanding…. Before quickly realising it was actually an attempt to gain political advantage with no respect whatsoever for the personal impact… or the truth.

During the break in campaigning as a mark of respect following the Manchester attack I was accused, on social media, by an activist from another party, of ignoring that and going out campaigning.

I had, in fact, been at my husbands funeral.

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Vince Cable hits Snapchat

Vince Cable is certainly getting out there on social media at the moment.

He’s tweeting several times a day. He’s on Facebook  and, like everyone else these days, on Instagram

It was his latest post on Instagram that surprised me – announcing that he’s going to be on Snapchat, a medium most commonly used by the young people I know, from 15th September.

The post announces:

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Dick Newby responds on Lib Dem peers and social media

As our Chief Whip in the Lords, I want to respond briefly to the article that was posted yesterday about our Peers and social media.

Firstly some facts – the Lib Dem group in the Lords has more Peers on Twitter than any other party or political group there, and between them they have over 100,000 followers. What they say online therefore is clearly reaching a lot of people. We also have a new Facebook page (www.facebook.com/LibDemLords)  which highlights the work done by our Peers.

Every week the Letter of the Lords is sent out – this is a email which highlights the work of the Peers both inside and outside the Lords (you can sign up here); it looks ahead to the following week and reviews the week that has just gone. It is an excellent way for anyone who wants to keep up with our work in the Lords in a very accessible way. It goes to parliamentarians and lobby journalists, as well as party members, local party leaders and other journalists across the country.

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Beware photos of the Queen shared on social media

A quick look down my Facebook timeline today understandably shows some lovely pictures of the Queen. Actually, my inbox is full of mentions of her as eager marketers exploit her record-breaking reign, but that’s another story. Now, I would happily get rid of the monarchy purely on principle as I don’t believe that a head of  state should come to that position by accident of birth. I know that that is very much a minority position and, frankly, there are more important things to take up my campaigning time.

However, my innate republicanism doesn’t mean I can’t respect the woman who has held that high office for the last 63 years and fulfilled her duties with dedication and dignity. She fully deserves the tributes being paid to her today.

This post isn’t about the Queen as such, though. Some of the aforementioned lovely images of the Queen on my social media have a much more sinister provenance.

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LDVideo: Naomi Long reads out and responds to mean tweets

Twitter abuse is an occupational hazard for anyone who has an opinion, especially if they happen to be female. If you are a woman, it’s not only what you say but how you look that is fair game for the trolls.

Alliance MP Naomi Long had a bit of Friday fun this week as she read out some of the abuse she’d received over the years and get her own back with some witty retorts. I think my personal favourite was her response to the one about the size of her backside – a subject on which Alistair Carmichael waded in with support for Naomi.

Anyway, watch and enjoy:

You might also be interested in one of Jo Swinson’s favourite antidotes to the haters. Thank you, haters, by Clever Pie and Isabel Fay is very funny.

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Jenny Willott on the Twitter abuse she got after Inside the Commons

A couple of weeks ago, Ruth Bright wrote of her admiration for Jenny Willott after seeing her and her family on the Inside the Commons series. I can only echo her sentiments after finally catching up with the programme late last night. What I saw was a happy family eating together, making a difficult work/life balance situation work in a way that suited them. Of course, I did wonder why Parliament couldn’t schedule its votes in a more family friendly manner and, why, in the 21st century, casting a vote requires running across your workplace then standing in a lobby for quarter of an hour, but that’s hardly Jenny’s fault.

I was appalled to see, from her speech to Welsh Liberal Democrat conference, that she’d taken some Twitter abuse after the programme was shown, as WalesOnline reports. 

The Liberal Democrat MP jokingly described herself to party activists as “the one with the child who screamed the place down when I left him in the whips office and went to vote”.

She said: “I’m also the one who got completely vilified on social media for daring to be a woman who wants to both work and have children. It’s absolutely amazing how many people thought it was okay to tell me my children would turn into delinquents, that I wasn’t up to the task of being an MP if I was also thinking about my children, that my children should be taken into social services care… that I was letting down my children and my constituents etc.”

She continued: “It’s extraordinary to think that even in 2015 there are plenty of people out there who think that women can’t be both MPs and have children successfully – I don’t hear any of them suggesting that men can’t be both MPs and have children.”

Ms Willott said her experiences made her “even more determined to show them how wrong they are,” adding: “It also proves to me that we need to get more women elected overall to change attitudes.”

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Opinion: How the world has changed since the Orange Book was published

Earth Day 2007 - Atlantic ReflectionIt’s so commonplace for politicians to publish their thoughts on policy for public debate now that it’s hard to understand the furore which prevented the Orange Book having a public launch when it was first published in 2004.

Yesterday’s Orange Book – 10 years on  conference finally celebrated the way in which contributors to the Orange Book raised the standard of debate about liberalism by exposing their views to rigorous scrutiny and by doing so challenging others to do the same. Amongst a very tempting variety of …

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First tweets: the Liberal Democrat Voice team

License Some rights reserved by shareskiThis is a blatant rip-off of my co-editor Stephen Tall’s piece yesterday giving all our MPs’ first tweets. It must have taken him ages to embed them all. I’ve seen the list described as “adorable” and it is a really useful trip down Memory Lane.

I have much less to do in my shameless copy, but I thought it would be interesting to see what first utterings came from the Liberal Democrat Voice team. The first thing I noticed is that we were all pretty early adopters. It was the much missed Andrew Reeves who got me into it way back when you did it by text message.

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5 things you didn’t know Nick Clegg loves – another clever use of Buzzfeed by LDHQ

Screen Shot 2014-03-10 at 08.53.06Back in January, when a character from Sherlock was analysed as a disillusioned Lib Dem, those clever people at Party HQ came up with a Buzzfeed thingy giving 1o reasons why she should come back to us.

They’ve now done the same with five of the things from Nick Clegg’s speech that he loves about Britain.

I liked that part of his speech – here’s a reminder:

I love that a country capable of extraordinary pomp and ceremony can still retain a spiky irreverence towards its establishment. A

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Social media training at Glasgow Conference

At last month’s Edinburgh TV Festival, Kevin Spacey’s McTaggert lecture warned television execs to ‘embrace online or die’.

I don’t imagine that I will be changing how I watch Borgen anytime soon, but I can see from my own children how technology is changing the way they watch television.

As Liberal Democrats, one of our strengths has always been our sense of duty to communicate; since the very first Focus leaflets were sent out. As an MP, I think that the technological developments that Kevin Spacey was discussing raise important questions about how technology is changing the way we engage with local people.

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Opinion: No social media identity? Be very afraid

Twitter logoYesterday the government chief scientist issued a thoughtful Foresight report on social media and social identity. It has important implications for political campaigning. For those in a hurry, here is the main message in a tweet:

@andybodders No online identity? You will fade out of existence #beveryafraid

The report uses rather more eloquent words to express this:

As people have become accustomed to switching seamlessly between the

Posted in Online politics and Op-eds | Also tagged and | 15 Comments

Opinion: For the sake of democracy, we need to be civil online

Twitter logoSome of the world’s best-known politicians have messed up on Twitter.

…From the Labour whip who called the Tory opposition “pigs”, to the American Republican politician Jeff Frederick who prematurely tweeted about a Democrat defection, and the Hull councillor who called members of the electorate voting for the opposition ‘retards’.

Therefore, it was hardly surprising when Lib Dem favourite Sir Graham Watson made his first Twitter blunder, tweeting something potentially ill-judged on Wednesday night. A popular MEP winning 80% of first-preference votes in the last Euro selections, opponents jumped on the error, and …

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The Independent View: Grassroots 2.0

With Conference season upon us once again, Parties reach out to embrace their wider membership of activists, supporters and sympathisers. This brief popping of the Westminster bubble is of course vital: a safeguard stopping Westminster disappearing into its own parochial obsessions.

Party Conference is only one of a number of ways of dipping into the wider public mood, of course. Polls, focus groups, constituency surgeries, party machinery and, indeed fora like Liberal Democrat Voice all allow views and concerns to (sometimes) percolate up to the leadership. And some politicians – such as Tony Blair at his height – seem to have …

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The Independent View: A blueprint for social media intelligence

The controversy over the Government’s plans to legislate for Internet surveillance, the ‘Communications Capabilities Development Programme’, has exposed a deep division within the Coalition. Into the dispute that has simmered since some details were first leaked earlier this month, David Cameron himself has weighed in to say that the proposals are necessary to stop crime, whereas Tim Farron has threatened to kill it “if we think this is a threat to a free and liberal society”.

This rumbling outrage surrounding CCDP testifies to the importance of a principled, publicly argued grounding for any kind of intelligence. It is exactly …

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How Twitter makes news consumption more diverse

Back in the internet boom at the turn of the century, one of the popular debates was whether the internet would provide exciting new access to a diverse range of information or whether the internet’s ability to give you far more power over what information you see or read would result in a narrowing of horizons as people just go for what they already know and what they already agree with.

Cass Sunstein in particular made the case for that latter pessimistic view very forcefully in his Republic.com book and it’s a pattern you see often in, for example, choices over political blog readership where supporters of different parties particularly congregate on blogs that take similar lines.

Now, however, researchers have taken a close look at how news is shared on Twitter and come up with a rather more positive finding:

Indirect media exposure increases the diversity of political opinions seen by users: between 60-98% of the users who directly followed media sources with only a single political leaning (left, right, or center) are indirectly exposedto media sources with a different political leaning. In orderto reach this conclusion, we use public classification of news sources and infer the political preference of every audience member. One can only speculate about the effect of political diversity, because users do not necessarily read the complete Twitter timeline nor do they always prefer receiving diverse political opinions (Munson and Resnick 2010). Nonetheless our results show the power of social media, in that users are exposed to information they did not know they were interested in, serendipitously.

One of their other findings is that for all Twitter’s newness, the sources of information are mainly fairly traditional:

There is much about the media landscape in Twitter that is ‘old media’. Established media outlets retain the role of publishing news and stories without much interaction with readers. However, the features of the ‘new media’ age are reflected in the way journalists and audience engage in new communication patterns, communicating with each other directly, and tapping into breaking news.

Media Landscaipe in Twitter – A World of New Conventions and Political Diversity

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Opinion: social media priorities

The last article I wrote conjoured up a utopian vision of Liberal Democrat e-campaigning. However, it might not be a realistic aim for individuals or groups who lack social media expertise, or time, to develop a fully fledged social media presence. How, then, should Liberal Democrats prioritise the different elements of social media?

The first choice is an absolute no-brainer. If you do nothing else, start a Facebook page. Don’t mistake a Facebook ‘group’ for a Facebook ‘page’. Though they share some features, they are different beasts. A local Party group should have an ‘official’ Facebook page. Individuals may …

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