Listen and Learn

Last night I went along to a meeting of bloggers and politicians arranged by Green TD Ciaran Cuffe.

A tour of the Green party offices was followed by a round table discussion involving between about twenty bloggers, Cuffe, John Gormley and Deirdre de Burca.

Eventually, we got to the point: How can politicians best use new technology?

There’s a lot of hype and jargon around the internet. But strip away the technobabble, and it down to conversation.

Politicians understand conversation. Get past the jargon, and New Media is all about things politicians already do very well. What they don’t get yet is the technology. Not how to use it – that’s the easy part – but how to harness it.

But then, neither do many bloggers.

Politicians want to reach specific audiences. A million twitter followers isn’t not much good if you’re chasing first preferences in Ballybeg.

The centrepiece of any politician’s online presence should be a blog. There, he or she can talk directly to Ballybegites, putting across the message, ideally in jargon free prose. A blog is a newsletter, with the added bonus of feedback from voters.

Anything else should channel audiences towards the blog, and from there to action.

By Gerard Cunningham

Gerard Cunningham occupies his time working as a journalist, writer, sub-editor, blogger and podcaster, yet still finds himself underemployed.