BBC BLOGS - dot.Rory
« Previous | Main | Next »

So was it an internet election?

Rory Cellan-Jones | 13:00 UK time, Friday, 7 May 2010

The verdict was already in, even before polling day. This was not an internet election, and all those who had suggested it might be had got it completely wrong.

It was a television election, and all of those tweeters and bloggers were sad political obsessives talking to each other.

David Cameron, Nick Clegg and Gordon Brown

Hold on a minute - can I insert a couple of points about what has already become received wisdom? First, even the most rabid of digital enthusiasts never suggested that new-media techniques would be the decisive factor.

Just about every debate I attended on this issue before the campaign ended with everyone agreeing that television, and the debates in particular, would be decisive.

But the internet, from social media to Google to good old-fashioned news websites, did play a significant part in the way many people experienced this election - and that was very different from what happened in 2005.

The web was successful in getting more people to engage with the campaign, it played a role in the way parties sought to persuade voters into their camp and to organise that process. It was also a source of news - although this was one area where its effect was smaller than expected.

Engagement

This was the first election where social networking played a part; although the conversation on Twitter may have been restricted to a few hundred thousand political geeks, there is evidence that younger people in particular used these now-familiar forums to engage with the campaign.

A YouGov survey found that a quarter of 18-24-year-olds had commented on politics via social networks.

Facebook, a much bigger network than Twitter, seemed uncertain how to engage its users at the beginning of the campaign - but by the end they were flocking to political pages, creating groups and generally showing more enthusiasm for politics than might be expected of a group often caricatured as news-averse and self-obsessed.

Facebook's tie-up with the Electoral Commission to promote voter registration also appears to have been a success, with visits to the registration site soaring after links appeared on users' profiles.

Persuasion

The parties went into the campaign determined to use digital means to reach voters. Both the Conservatives and, to a lesser extent, Labour made sophisticated use of Google's AdSense system to place political messages next to search terms.

On polling day, the Tories went one step further, buying what they described as the best piece of online real estate you can find, the front page of YouTube, to place an advert telling users to vote Conservative.

Earlier, the Liberal Democrats also managed to get a YouTube clip of Nick Clegg talking about the Digital Economy Bill as the spotlight video for iGoogle users, thereby sending this message to a technically sophisticated audience.

Huge e-mail databases were used to contact voters time and again throughout the campaign with personalised messages from the likes of Gordon, David and Nick.

Meanwhile, the parties were still spending sizeable amounts on that traditional election tool, the poster campaign - only to find that just about every poster was swiftly amended by online spoofers.

Did any of this make a jot of difference? Hard to say, but that's also the case with the old media methods.

Organisation

One dull, but important, aspect of the internet election was the way the parties used e-mail, text messages and social networks to organise their troops on the ground.

Initiatives such as Labour's Mobile Monday - phone canvassing organised via Twitter - may have helped raise the morale of party workers, even if they failed to stem the losses.

One Conservative candidate told me that campaign meetings had been rendered obsolete by the new methods. We watched teams of eager canvassers, some of whom had been recruited via Facebook, fan out across the constituency, led by a very young campaign manager who had studied American methods.

News cycle

For anyone watching the campaign closely, the blogs and social networks - particularly Twitter - provided a fascinating running commentary from an array of mostly partisan viewpoints.

That seemed to make every event, from the TV debates to the "bigoted woman" row, happen at warp speed - so that, after a few hours, it was time to move on to something new.

But did these new media sources actually provide breaking news stories? Apart from the odd Twitter gaffe, not really. Nor did amateur footage shot on mobile phones change the course of the campaign.

There were some mildly amusing videos, but no Prescott punch, nor any unguarded comments caught by a passing blogger. Perhaps the politicians were just too mindful of the dangers - while forgetting a more potent threat, the radio microphone.

So it wasn't an election won or lost by the internet, but nor was it untouched by the technology. New voters appeared to enjoy their first experience of an election campaign, and will now expect to engage with future elections via the web.

The real question to ask is whether politicians and the voters will be more or less inclined to use the likes of YouTube, Facebook and Google. I cannot imagine that having gone down this path, they will now retreat to the old methods.

Comments

  • Comment number 1.

    An "internet election" will be when we can actually move into the 21st century and vote online.

  • Comment number 2.

    Rory,
    You are right that TV was important, but as I wrote after the first TV debate, they were important because they were not like traditional media. http://www.charliebeckett.org/?p=2697
    As you say, not even new media evangelists like me ever said this was going to be the Internet election but public attitudes to political communication are changing and social media is well-placed to take advantage of the desire for more interactivity and a more diverse conversation.

  • Comment number 3.

    How many BBC blogs are discussing the election result?

    Russ

  • Comment number 4.

    The internet, and in particular social media had a major impact in terms of opinion polls but traditional media still trumped it in the last few days in terms of actually swaying the floating voters.

  • Comment number 5.

    Online drove me to be much more enaged in this election. Via Twitter I went to a local hustings for the first time in my life. I shared, discussed, got angry, laughed - largely via social media. For many of us it became the gatweay to political engagement.

  • Comment number 6.

    I'm actually more surprised by how little impact the internet seems to have had on the election result. After seeing The Lib Dems winning the 'Facebook Election Poll' with an astonishing 50% of the vote, and twitter running #imnotvotingconservative as a trending topic for about 5 hours, online it seemed like there would be a much better result for the party.

    Of course, this was one of the best results ever for the Lib Dems in terms of pure numbers. This is one of the greatest arguments for proportional representation I can see. The results clearly don't reflect the feelings of the people of this country in my opinion.

  • Comment number 7.

    " At 1:21pm on 07 May 2010, Graphis wrote:
    An "internet election" will be when we can actually move into the 21st century and vote online."

    Considering that a blunt pencil on a piece of string was beyond the abilities of some returning officers, I don't thnk we're ready for online voting just yet.

  • Comment number 8.

    the blogs and social networks - particularly Twitter - provided a fascinating running commentary from an array of mostly partisan viewpoints.

    Indeed. And considering how partisan, and niche, and the % of actual numbers engaged (as the BBC's favoured 'ordinary voters', as opposed the the special chatterati who count so much more) so many were, it's astounding how they were often propelled to mainstream prominence... when it suited.

    ps: Just converted to Google Chrome. Is this normal?:

    The site's security certificate is not trusted!
    You attempted to reach www.bbc.co.uk, but the server presented a certificate issued by an entity that is not trusted by your computer's operating system.


  • Comment number 9.

    Hmm - not sure myself. If you mean “did I engage in conversations with friends and followers” about the election, then the answer is “yes”.

    If you mean “did I engage with the political parties” then, again, the answer is “yes” but only up to a point. I asked questions via Twitter of the main parties, but no reply was ever returned. In fact, the only politician who replied was John Prescott.

    The political parties were treating Twitter just like another letterbox through which to poke leaflets - but failing to grasps the idea that such systems require two-way communication to be effective. I just felt ignored by them online.

  • Comment number 10.

    Of course the true Internet revolution will be when the voters are trusted to use technology to vote on the issues rather than the parties. Only then can politics be said to reflect the wishes of the population, prior to that it is just a compromise situation.

  • Comment number 11.

    The Internet can be very useful for organising the troops, as Obama proved. I saw no evidence of such a groundswell in this election, though.

    Sadly, it also serves to entrench views, as people seek out content that fits their own ideology. This will lead to further political stagnation as even more people than ever have "their" party to which they show unfailing support.

    And... that's it. The fabled Internet couldn't even prevent the passing of a piece of Soviet-style anti-Internet legislation in the wash-up.

  • Comment number 12.

    Social media is good at giving the impression you are "making a difference" because you can connect quickly to a lot of people who share your views.

    Unfortunately this has little relationship with the real world.

  • Comment number 13.

    http://theworldisntlistening.blogspot.com/

    Some ramblings I did as the events unfoldeed last night (on TV) about how little impact the devates had had.

    With regards to the internet, Twitter was chockablock last night with people unable to comprehend who was voting Conservative. The majority of that channel's users are clearly unrepresented across the UK as a whole - or we'd have all been waking up to a sunny Lib Dem 'nuclear-free city' utopia.

  • Comment number 14.

    I think the biggest contribution by the internet and social media was the YouTube & Facebook Digital Debate site, which as far as I'm aware is unique in eliciting responses from the three big Unionist parties on a wide variety of issues that otherwise were completely ignored by the politicians and the media. This election was completely overshadowed by the economic debate and this site provided welcome relief from that.

    I think what's also obvious is that the people who tend to use online social media have a very different voting pattern to the country at large - online polls don't translate into national polls, just as national polls don't translate into votes and votes don't translate into seats.

  • Comment number 15.

    I have been watching the build up to the election and watching it unfold all day on the Internet from Australia, so it has been an internet election for me.

  • Comment number 16.

    An interesting result with regard to potential coalition governments.

    The people have spoken again

    http://www.facebook.com/?ref=logo#!/democracyuk?ref=ts

  • Comment number 17.

    Dimbleby is no doubt a legend, but the way he belittled Rory right at the end of the coverage was fairly pathetic and probably the low point of the entire coverage - let's just put that down to tiredness. Love it or hate it, the Internet is going to be an increasing part of democracy in future and some of the BBC old guard would do well to recognise that.

  • Comment number 18.

    I agree that it wasn't an internet pre-election, despite the hype, but the digital election is coming into its own for this the aftermath, the eye of the storm: http://mikeexon.wordpress.com/2010/05/07/the-digital-election-just-began

  • Comment number 19.

    The internet certainly did play a role in getting some people engaged into the politics. I certainly learnt a lot about the main parties' policies as compared by the BBC's brilliant "Parties and Issues: Where they stand" web page. I introduced some work makes to the website and during the last few days many people around the office were on it. It would have been very difficult to do that with leaflets.

    It's just a pity that the internet was not used for online voting, because there is a case for it, all issues being resolved, that is. I for one had forgotten to submit my application for postal voting before the deadline, and so had to make arrangements to be back in town to vote, despite a business requirement to be somewhere else very far.

  • Comment number 20.

    Regrettably, the role of twitter etc has been deliberately downplayed by the established systems of people control-right wing newspapers, Sky TV, even the Washington associated broadcasters (Paxman, Naughtie, Davies). That so many people from all sectors of society were locked out of voting stations (even though their voting could not have delayed counts any longer than we have been witnessing this afternoon from smaller constituencies) and the fact that many will now be sharing their experience with us online, cannot be comforting to any incoming administration.
    With council tax revaluations, massive spending cuts, the need to go to Brussells to endorse Lisbon treaty, the damning inevitablity that our latest demands for PR will be parked (like Jenkins Report was)once the coalition 'discussions' are done,a new Middle East War (never discount the ability of Israel to embarrass its closest allies) now inevitable,festering anger over riot control thuggery at demonstrations for climate/G20 online communications; all have the potential to cause mayhem during the next 3 years.
    The people are as unhappy today as they were on Wednesday and the politicians who look so worried today will feel worse tomorrow once their stooges start reading online comments on twitter, facebook and the multitude of blogs for different interest groups to them.

  • Comment number 21.

    The fact there were huge local swings and no national pattern of voting shows, without doubt, that it was an "internet election".

    It's important to realise that the internet is a tool for communication, just like the telephone. It allows everyone to communicate and react to events very quickly, and share their opinions with others.

    The huge increase in tactical voting could well be down to better availability of online tools to identify how to vote in your constituency.

    People shouldn't get distracted by Twitter. The internet is not a method for top-down communication.

  • Comment number 22.

    Don't forget that a third of people in the UK still don't have internet access.

  • Comment number 23.

    I think its very hard to get involved in a political debate on a social networks such as Facebook for example because of two things. Political views are supposed to be private, like the ballot paper. Most people I know review politics as a hot potato and a no no as a discussion subject. The second reason, for the younger generation and possibly even some older people politics usually start a row, its very hard to have a debate without bias and not say well I think this or that. If you revue the BBCs own HYS debates, you will see that even on there there is thinly veiled attacks on peoples views etc.
    I suspect that the other reason is because most of us on Facebook have friends in foriegn places and not everyone wants to know about our election. If I started spouting my views on there I suspect I would loose friends pretty quickly, or maybe thats the fear, and that in itself keeps us guarded and mute as far as our political views are concerned.
    However, I do think it has been an internet election. I have sat here, almost glued to News 24 election coverage for the past two days... not on tv but on my pc. I can access all the information and have discussions on HYS and with my partner sitting next to me and its been easier and less biased than reading news papers. Its up to date and up to the minute and certainly the Internet is the vessel for that information. So thank you to the BBC and all the very hard working and by now very tired presenters pundits journos and etc for bringing it to us... its been 'interesting' to say the least!!

  • Comment number 24.

    Like user hairydalek, I tried asking a local candidate questions via Twitter, but received no response. As I was simply asking where she was going to be in the week running up to the election, as I had the idea that I might go and hear her speak in person, it was hardly a difficult question. And given that politicians spend hours knocking on doors, surely answering my Tweet would have been a quick and effective use of party time?

    Twitter, email, facebook - if parties want to use them effectively for engagement, then they need to be responsive.

    The Lib Dem candidate I tweeted lost her seat by a narrow margin. I wonder how many other people she ignored...?

  • Comment number 25.

    I think that Clegg will be angling for some cabinet seats for his team,,,,,,,,,He will go with the party that accepts Vince Cable as Chancellor. If he can get that AND proportional representation then that will be a major coup.
    PHIL THE TOPMAN

  • Comment number 26.

    Internet voting is a big NO NO there are too many people out there that could rig the voting system.The normal way we vote is bad enough and wants bringing in to the 21st century.

  • Comment number 27.

    Maybe it is now that the normal one flunked.

    Check this out (it's a non for profit protest site, to get people to go to the streets to protest for electoral reform)

    We can come together to bring change!


    http://www.takebackparliament.com/

  • Comment number 28.

    The internet can only play a decisive role when the voting system reflects the people and not just a minority,

    i just hope voting reform will come,
    by the time the next election will be hopefully the mp's will have grown up a few decades

    and are willing to work together for the benefit for us all, or this country will end up in turmoil if our voices are ignored yet again.

  • Comment number 29.

    This was an election just as every other election is an election.

    Television, internet, telephone, face to face - all these are communication systems, they don't actually change the nature of the election, just what info gets through to which people.

    One thing was obvious, putting a debate on Sky was a complete waste of time - that debate should have been live on a channel that everyone can get. I am not sure why it was felt necessary to pander to a station owned by a non-British company whose chief thinks he has the right to tell us how to vote. Perhaps CNN should host one as well!

    Roll on PR - that is the only time that there will be real change, rather than the media trying to invent change!

  • Comment number 30.

    The internet did play a significant part this time but not as significant as it could have been. Unlike Barack Obama's victory this was not won or lost on Facebook and Youtube. The internet will play an increasingly important role in UK politics but until the 33% who aren't on-line actually get on-line it's effect will be limited.

  • Comment number 31.

    Of course it didn't.

    People in the media bubble like to think it did, but in reality, many millions of voters don't have a Twitter or Facebook accounts.

  • Comment number 32.

    At 1:44pm on 07 May 2010, Richard Kent wrote:
    " At 1:21pm on 07 May 2010, Graphis wrote:
    An "internet election" will be when we can actually move into the 21st century and vote online."

    Considering that a blunt pencil on a piece of string was beyond the abilities of some returning officers, I don't thnk we're ready for online voting just yet.
    --------------
    Indeed. All the more reason to move to e-voting, I'd say. As long as you leave such things to a couple of OAP's in a village hall, then we're always going to have the potential for this disaster again. I cannot believe that the "third world" country of India has had e-voting since 2004. India, for cryin' out loud: it's US who are the third world country in this! We should be leading the world on this.
    --------------
    At 4:43pm on 07 May 2010, thefrugallife wrote:
    Don't forget that a third of people in the UK still don't have internet access.

    Nonsense. Everyone can get to a computer with internet access somewhere, be it at home, at work, a relatives, their local library, or an internet cafe. And in the event of an election, the village hall could still be set up as a temporary internet 'cafe', for those who live too far away from any of the above.
    ---------------
    At 6:13pm on 07 May 2010, reasonstobecheerfull wrote:
    Internet voting is a big NO NO there are too many people out there that could rig the voting system.
    ---------------
    No, that's not a concern: there would be a secure voting site that would only actually be live for 24 hours. That's not enough time for hackers to figure out a way past the security that would be inbuilt. It takes them months of work to crack into a banks secure site, for example. There would be no worry about security or vote-rigging.

  • Comment number 33.

    A huge +1 for online voting. Surely it must be less prone to fraud than postal voting, and even voting in person is easy prey for fraudsters. We're secure enough to do online banking already and even submit our self-assessment returns online, but why not to vote?

    So what if not everyone has access to a computer? Those who don't will simply vote in person or by post. Anything which would allow more voters to play their part must surely be worthwhile, and I suspect there would be an significant increased overall 'turn out' if e-voting were an option.

    With all of the current talk of political reform and demonstrable electoral commission ineptitude in handling bits of paper, now is the time to take control, to be forward-thinking in an internet age, and to set an example of open, transparent and accessible democracy at its best.

  • Comment number 34.

    The big news story last night was all over Twitter at least an hour before it appeared on BBC1 - that is, the problems people were having voting. In fact, the BBC seemed to be using Twitter to get its news at one point.

  • Comment number 35.

    It seems to me that the biggest effect of getting a few million people talking about the election online was to increase the turnout (unexpectedly in some places!). Anything that gets people talking about voting is likely to result in a few more actually being bothered to do it...

  • Comment number 36.

    internet voting? is it really that hard to walk to a polling station and vote there?

  • Comment number 37.

    @Martin said: "internet voting? is it really that hard to walk to a polling station and vote there?"

    Internet Banking? Is it that hard to walk to a bank and sort out your finances there?

    Television remote controls? Is it that hard to walk over to your telly and change channel?

  • Comment number 38.

    Internet Banking? Is it that hard to walk to a bank and sort out your finances there?

    Try as I might, the DVD drive hasn't spat out any cash yet...

  • Comment number 39.

    The two main candidates in my area both got into the press over Facebook and Twitter 'silly' statements. UKIP were the only ones in my area to remain twittering till polling day. If the candidates in my area are typical then I think the statement Cameron made months ago is true about MPs who twit. To me it begs the question. "If they can't be trusted to micro blog, what can they be trusted with?"

  • Comment number 40.

    I Have been watching the demonstrations for voting reform.........Gordon Brown could pull a masterstroke and call a snap election as he is still Prime minister at the moment............announce political reform as top of Labours agenda.........then stand down in favour of David Milliband...............Labour would then romp home and the Libs would gain a lot more seats as well....
    PHIL THE TOPMAN

  • Comment number 41.

    TV election? That's a joke! The much-vaunted tele debates had ZERO impact on the final result. They just created a brief Clegg bubble which burst well before polling day. And gave Alastair Stewart another unhealthy ego ehancement.

  • Comment number 42.

    Yes this was an internet election: Until at least the BBC in Scotland tried to silence SNP supporters immediately prior to and after the "presidential debates" which were receiving huge criticism in Scotland as treating Scotland as irrelevant. (BBC political blogs in Scotland were closed down completely for three days without explanation)

    The BBC's actions during this campaign, which included, only reporting on negative Labour/Gordon brown stories, only reporting positive Nick clegg/David Cameron stories and trying its hardest to ignore the SNP and other parties to try and turn this election in to a US presidential election have been nothing short of appalling

  • Comment number 43.

    What Election?

  • Comment number 44.

    Electronic voting is a very bad idea, and Internet voting even worse. It's plagued with issues around security, privacy and authentication.

    OK - we had a glitch with the current system, but at least there is a paper audit, and basically it works and has done for many many years. Don't let the software suppliers and e-voting machine manufacturers persuade you otherwise, they just want to line their pockets with our tax money.

    Just a sample of the hundreds of problems with e-voting machines, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electronic_voting#Documented_problems

    Online voting is even more difficult. As a programmer for over 25 years, I can say there are always security holes, bugs and errors in every system - stick with the blunt pencil on a string.

  • Comment number 45.

    The technological answers for voting rely on there being no fraud involved. The other problem with the internet is that not everyone has access to it still so to say voting on the internet is next is still a long way to go before that works.. And the idea of voting by text? Just the security problems first!

    How about a system in which your voting card has a bar code on it then a reader in the voting station?
    I am lucky in that I looked up the amount of voters in my polling station and there are on 421. I know that there are many more with a lot higher numbers so this system could apply to those stations with higher voting numbers.
    Only an idea but 21st century time and life should not be like this, should it?

  • Comment number 46.

    Using a mallet to crack a nut:

    We invest millions* to create a "secure" online voting system (that is cracked within minutes and crashes by ten o'clock) that takes years to design, over runs the delivery date, blows the budget, is incredibly controversial but eventually allows those that are actually on line the ability to vote from wherever they happen to be. The system will have to be re-analysed after each use, will probably be put out to retender on a regular basis and will go out of date within a year.

    Or

    We move polling day to Sunday.

    * The newly qualified doctors website that caused all those problems was a simple database site that anyone with a basic knowledge of databases and client side scripting could have written in just a few days. Oh, and it had an open source way of creating excel sheets from the data - pity they forgot to secure that bit with the one line of code required. That website cost 6 MILLION pounds.

  • Comment number 47.

  • Comment number 48.

    Joss@46

    Ha ha, You're absolutely spot on: the government/public sector doesn't have a very good record with technology, does it? Look at all the councils still forced into using systems based around Internet Explorer 6, and can't upgrade without spending millions more. I blame the companies that actually do the programming, of course: they seem to decide how much such a site should cost, then multiply it by the number of computers it will be used on, to arrive at a final bill. How can a website cost millions? It's ridiculous. The gov should just employ some small commercial company that has a proven track record in creating secure sites for the private sector.

    A simple voting form can be created with a few lines of code. Add a few more to localise it, so people can go to their area's candidates, and a few more for security. Add a logo at the top, and bingo. The whole thing could fit on an A4 piece of paper. It would take a couple of days to design, and then maybe a month of rigourous testing. Hell, I'd do it for £2k.

  • Comment number 49.

    Twitter is just "celebrity culture", an oxymoron if ever there was one, and no-one really takes it seriously.

    The really interesting question is why Facebook deleted the group that had 50,000 people objecting to any Con-Dem deal?

  • Comment number 50.

    Online voting has got to be a no - I would give up my vote rather than vote online....

  • Comment number 51.

    Re. Gordon Browns resignation: Labour party should choose leader not Nick Clegg. No-one of his stature to take over. Sorry that he has given in to a Tory Press and biased TV reportage. This same media press and political commentators will just transfer their ire to anyne who takes his place.
    Put the names Dave and Nick together and you get the most apt KNAVE

  • Comment number 52.

    I could not disagree more - we are hidebound by archaic legislation - probably written in quill and parchment - we desperarately need to update by about two centuries - we have the technology to make parliament and Whitehall completely redundant - if all voters were given a very simple computer with only half a dozen or less keys with which to reflect their opinion on an issue (e.g. agree/no comment/disagree) the cost would be minute compared to the cost of parliament/Whitehall/liggers - no argument re "oh - the some people would be disenfranchised because they wouls not be able to be able to cope with technology" - that would be incredibly condescending - like saying some people were disenfrachised during the run-up to the recent election because it was too complicated to turn on the TV to watch the debates!

  • Comment number 53.

    A thought - any "agreement" between Tories and Lib-Dems would be a kick in the teeth for tactical voters (like me) who voted Lib-Dem because the Lab candidate was a no-hoper - and there must be milllions of like-minded voters - who would never vote Lib-Dem again - surely this would decimate the Lib-Dem support? In my opinion any Tory/Lib Dem agreement would be the death nell for the Lib Dem party - if I were negotiating for Lab I would offer all the usual (PR/AV etc.) but also 2 or 3 cabinet posts and the opportunity to go for P.M.

  • Comment number 54.

    Have you seen the blog posts over at Liberal Vision - a "marmite" blog site for Lib dems (love them or hates them) that has been described as eh hmmm controversial (mainly because they are often critical of their own party and is populated with senior ex lib dem spin doctors so they often know whats going on). They were the first lib dem bloggers to call for a lib/con coaltion (Friday afternoon)...then yesterday they posted "Calamity or canny politics" (referring to the Lib Dems announcement that they were talking to Labour)... and "I didn't vote Lib Dem to get a Tory government" ....now they have just posted "The Lib Dems: dithering or duplicitous" priceless! - bet thats gone down well at lib dem high command who apparently reads the site avidly.

  • Comment number 55.

    I am interested that no one has mentioned Wikipedia and TheyWorkForYou which provide information on every member of parliament, their voting records, exactly what expenses they have claimed and what work they do etc etc.

    By way of example over 400,000 people have checked out David Cameron's Wikipedia article already during May 2010 (http://stats.grok.se/en/201005/david%20cameron) which is being updated in real time as can be seen by this edit while he was in Buckingham Palace and not quite PM yet (http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=David_Cameron&diff=361530579&oldid=361530504).

    Wikipedia started 9 years ago (in 2001) and is already the first port of call for many people wanting to access an overview of virtually any subject.

    Until this election most people relied either on the media or on official announcements both of which often have pretty strong bias which is often more pronounced that Wikipedia.

    Peter

  • Comment number 56.

    I can't see on-line voting ever working. Not withstanding the fact that the majority of people are not yet too interested in being online, it is difficult to preserve anonymity and prevent fraud. If it ever happened in Birmingham, I could foresee whole legions of the dead voting in some areas! Some might argue, that they already do!

    It might be possible to have electronic voting procedures at the polling stations (if kept simple enough), by perhaps putting in a unique ID (NI number or similar), but the same concerns would apply.

    As the internet stimulated interest in politics, it has to go down as a success, but I doubt it made many people change their vote.



  • Comment number 57.

    I would say this has not been as much of a bloggers election as say the 2007 Holyrood Election. Partly for the reasons outlined above, but partly because certain SNP leaning bloggers have been targeted by members of the media (or the MSM as they have been dubbed by bloggers). As a result, quite a few bloggers closed their sites last winter.

    I'm sure had you asked any SNP bloggers (or as they are dubbed, "Cyber-nats") for their opinion, they would have mentioned the above events.

  • Comment number 58.

    Like user hairydalek, I tried asking a local candidate questions via Twitter, but received no response. As I was simply asking where she was going to be in the week running up to the election, as I had the idea that I might go and hear her speak in person, it was hardly a difficult question. And given that politicians spend hours knocking on doors, surely answering my Tweet would have been a quick and effective use of party time?.........
    Twitter, email, facebook - if parties want to use them effectively for engagement, then they need to be responsive.
    The Lib Dem candidate I tweeted lost her seat by a narrow margin. I wonder how many other people she ignored...?

 

BBC iD

Sign in

BBC navigation

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.