Wednesday, 23 April 2008

London Mayor Candidates v US Presidential candidates - me comparing their online strategies on Sky News!

Yesterday afternoon I received phone call from Sky News asking me to be a guest on the 'Sky.com News' evening broadcast with Martin Stanford.

click for larger image

I had never been on TV before so I was excited (and a little nervous before it), but everyone made me feel very welcome and I enjoyed the whole experience.

I was invited to discuss the online campaigns of the London Mayor candidates and contrast these with the online campaigns for the US Presidential candidates. This is the first major UK election to happen in a Web 2.0 world so I have been tracking campaigns to see how things develop. I have previously written on this blog about different elements of the online campaigns so was happy to give Sky my opinions!


In my view the most notable difference isn't necessarily the quality of what the Mayoral candidates are producing (though no-one in London has produced anything close to the Will.i.am videos seen in the US), the big difference is seen in the level of voter engagement that online has generated.

Since the success of Howard Dean's 2004 online election campaigning, US candidates have used online extensively while UK politics has lagged behind. The length of the US election process also enables activity to gradually evolve, whereas the UK's short, intensive campaigns do not give such scope for online campaign development. The differences in electoral process, coupled with relative inexperience of UK voters engaging with candidates online, is reflected in the numbers.

In the US Barack Obama has hundreds of thousands of friends and fans on Facebook (Boris leads here with just over 7,000 Facebook fans), Barack Obama is followed by 25000+ people on Twitter (Brian Paddick leads here with 300 or so followers) and London Mayor YouTube clips have been seen by hundreds rather than hundreds of thousands.

The London Mayoral election is a good testing ground for strategies that can be rolled out nationally for the next general election though and it has been interesting to see the main parties all experimenting with different ways of engaging through online channels.

Brian Paddick has recently become the first British politician to engage voters in a live UStream webcast:

Boris is making Apprentice style campaign videos:


and Ken is very focussed on using online for data capture, with this the front page of his website:
I plan to do a full review of candidates strategies over coming days and will update this post when I have a full transcript of what I said last night! [UPDATE: Sky have sent me an embed code so I have been able to include my appearance - see the video at the top of this page.] In the meantime here are some of my previous posts on the online campaigns of both US and London candidates:

London Candidates' Google strategy - here
New style of campaigning to be used in London Mayor election - here
YouTube in the US Presidential elections - here
6 Great Examples of online in the US elections - here

3 comments:

David Wilding said...

gutted I missed it. Have you got it on video or youtube or anything? Rossy wants to see it.

Nick Burcher said...

Sky have included the video on the Sky.Com News blog and have kindly sent me an embed link that I have been able to include within this post now!

david wilding said...

brilliant stuff. You look mildly petrified at the beginning of the interview if I may say so but then who wouldn't be...