The Labour Deputy Leadership race is all there really is in UK politics at the moment when it comes to using the internet for political campaigning. But there are a couple of developments that I really wonder about. Firstly is how the candidates are using Facebook, or more precisely, their supporters. Yes, Facebook is a useful tool. But how far could / should politics dominate one’s life on the system? A large number of the people in the same networks as me there are putting logos from the Deputy Leader candidates as their profile pictures – as shown. Do these people not have lives other than Labour politics? OK, I’m happy to back Harriet, but as the majority of the people in my list of friends in Facebook live outside the UK I reckon it’s better to show a picture of me rather than a logo for someone else. I do have a life outside Labour politics.
The second issue that has vexed me a bit is the use of Wordpress to power the websites for the Deputy Leadership. Hilary Benn and Hazel Blears are using Wordpress to power their entire sites, and Wordpress also runs Gordon Brown for Britain. I think Alan Johnson is using
Plone Drupal (thanks for the comment) and I can’t work out what’s behind Peter Hain’s site. Harriet Harman and Jon Cruddas are using Wordpress for the blogs on their sites, but other systems for the rest of the sites (Typo3 in Harriet’s case). In essence Wordpress is a blogging tool, and a very good one. But it’s not really adapted to use for content management. In fact it makes life quite hard if you try to use it for that purpose. So while I welcome the use of Open Source software for all of these campaigns, I wonder whether the respective developers have got their strategies right.
(BTW: no links to the other candidates’ sites as I don’t want to boost their Google rankings…)