Learning from Obama: Labour and Tories online

February 23, 2009

Thomas Gensemer, a consultant who worked on Barack Obama’s online strategy during his campaign for the Presidency, talks about Labour’s and the Tories’ online offerings in this short clip.

The two key elements to take away are:

  1. The need to be authentic and have something to say: it’s not about the technology (it never is) but how it allows you to share a message or contribute to a conversation. This is a lesson for anyone engaging in political, advocacy and other communications online: don’t do Twitter (or whatever) because everyone else is on it; do it if you’ve got something interesting to share, can fit it within your wider communications and remain coherent, and appear eager and honest (let others be the judge of this).
  2. Limited focus on mobilisation of activists and other supporters. The Obama campaign worked because it made it really easy for people to create, share and spread material; to find and arrange events, and so on. This got people excited and provided the Obama campaign with scores of highly active volunteers. However, Labour and the Tories still aren’t making it really easy for their supporters to engage and get involved. As Gensemer puts it: it isn’t easy to find “5 things to do” on the sites, although all the elements are there somewhere. They should be the centrepieces of the sites however, not an afterthought.
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