The House of Lords does social media

Much is made of our MPs and their use of social media. Steve Webb and Facebook, Jo Swinson and Duncan Hames announcing their engagement via Twitter (we only had Facebook in my day…), the increasingly sophisticated websites, all of these serve to connect Parliamentarians to the communities they serve. However, on the red benches, the need to reach out is heightened by the relative lack of coverage for their activities in the mainstream media, and there is increasing use of social media to achieve that.

Perhaps the best known source of commentary comes from Lords of the Blog, a collaborative effort perhaps overshadowed by Lord Norton of Louth, an authoritative if perhaps slightly academic Conservative and expert on constitutional affairs. From the Liberal Democrat benches, Paul Tyler is a regular contributor, whilst Navnit Dholakia and Robin Teverson have been known to post their thoughts from time to time.

It would be hard to write any review of social media in the Lords without mentioning Eric Avebury, whose frequent medical updates mixed with reports of meetings with politicians and media in Africa and South Asia belie the fact that he is in his early eighties. However, he remained the only active blogger amongst the Parliamentary Party until very recently, when Meral Ece was elevated last month.

Twitter has also come to the Lords, with Meral (@meralhece) and Floella Benjamin (@FloellaBenjamin) both frequent Twitterers, whilst Facebook is graced by Ros Scott, whose successful campaign for the Party Presidency in 2008 was recognised by a Liberal Democrat Voice BOTY award for best use of blogging or social networking by a Liberal Democrat. Whilst her blog may have been lost under somewhat controversial circumstances, Facebook does allow members to keep in touch with her activities.

Perhaps the age profile of the Parliamentary Party in the Lords does militate against significant use of social media, but as new Peers are nominated, you can expect that to change over the coming years.

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This entry was posted in Online politics and Parliament.
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