The boss has been blogging again on Labour List. One day I'm going to persuade him to have a blog all of his own.
The difference I guess between traditional campaigning and using new media, is that with traditional campaigning - door-knocking, telephone canvassing, street stalls, street surgeries, etc - you can target exactly who you want to meet: i.e. your constituents, your voters. Whereas with blogging, websites, Facebook, Twitter and the like, you might reach a much wider audience but not necessarily the ones that really matter. (At which point I feel obliged to mention my 35 hits from Uruguay in December, of which I am very proud). And you can expend a lot of effort 'talking' to people who should really be having an online dialogue with their own MPs. As I've said on here before, most MPs who don't blog - i.e. most MPs - think that MPs who do blog are mad to do so.
I was speaking to an MP last night, who went out canvassing at the weekend in London with 14 activists. Pretty good going considering the weather. In the space of a morning they made 40 contacts. They were canvassing in an area of tower blocks and secure entry flats, so access made it difficult plus the fact a lot of people aren't on the electoral register, but even so... The MP then said that there was a 30% 'churn' of voters in the seat every year, i.e. people moving homes. So, I calculated, if the election is in a year and a bit's time, maybe 25 of those contacts will still be there? (At which point Douglas interrupted the conversation and told me never to go into business as an after-dinner motivational speaker).
I don't think anything beats door-knocking in terms of actually being able to meet voters face to face and have a conversation with them. But I think that blogging, websites, facebook groups - the more interactive the better - are becoming increasingly essential too.
*As quoted by DA in his piece. Aristotle wrote that “one citizen differs from another, but the salvation of the community is the common business of them all”. Not really relevant to this post but I liked it.