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Politicians and the internet

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Marc | 10:46 UK time, Thursday, 22 November 2007

One of Britain's most popular political bloggers is Dizzy Thinks. He calls himself "a Conservative political anorak and an internet geek".

He blogged this week about the Foreign Secretary, David Miliband, appearing on Diplomacy Island in Second Life - one of the internet's biggest "virtual worlds". Dizzy Think's entry though was not complimentary about David Miliband's efforts to engage with a wider audience.

The Liberal Democrat MP Lynne Featherstone has also been musing this week about whether MPs should blog - and that got us thinking here at iPM about the progress made by politicians in using websites and blogs to further their cause and get their message across.

The prospect of directly engaging with the electorate, without going through the prism of the media, does seem to appeal across the political spectrum - but does it only work if it's done well?

The Conservatives have WebCameron, Labour have their own channel on YouTube, while the Liberal Democrats have used their channel to ask people to send in questions for the challengers for the party leadership.

Here's their Chief Executive Chris Rennard:

The way the Internet is used in the United States looks much more developed than here - take, as an example, this broadcast from the Republican Presidential candidate, Mike Huckabee.

How well do you think politicians in the UK have learned to use the Internet? Have they "got it"? Where is there interesting content on the web? Let us know in the comments section or send an email to ipm {at} bbc.co.uk

Update on Thursday at 5.30pm:

The editor of the Spectator magazine, Matthew D'Ancona, is appearing on the Westminster Hour on Sunday at 1045pm, looking at the connection between the internet and politics. It's called "Power and the Web" - you can read more about it here.

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