Today we have a guest blogger on Digital Prefect – Laura McNally is a PR and communications student studying at Birmingham City University.  She is currently completing a 3 week placement at Twelve PR. 

I’d thought I’d be topical with my blog choice and analyse the use of social media with the upcoming elections.

My PR class (which is part of the Media school) received a guest lecture from a teacher at the Business and Marketing School. As a proud American democrat, it wasn’t surprising that her chosen subject was President Barack Obama’s election campaign.

Although Obama had the advantage of being a naturally likeable character, which in my opinion cannot be said about most of the British politicians, his mass social media campaign was the winning element that helped him to reel in those crucial extra votes. Every form of social media you could possibly think of was embraced, meaning his presence was almost inescapable. Although this may sound excessive, it was widely welcomed and carried out in such a way that the online community felt a mutual and honest relationship rather than a flood of cheap marketing tactics shoved down their throats.

Source: The Numbers

Clearly it would be a wise choice for our UK parties to follow in the US President’s footsteps, but whether they have or not is a different story. So far I have not been targeted by any party online (which says something already) so I decided to check them out for myself. All of the three main parties are on Twitter and Facebook, and post blogs and videos on their websites, however I am disappointed by the overall lack of creativeness. 

Although I must give it to the Tories, http://cash-gordon.com, despite being a cheap shot, is something a bit different. However it didn’t take long for hackers to realise that the posts were unmonitored, allowing html and JavaScript codes to be inserted which resulted in various stunts by Tory-haters, such as redirecting the site to labour.org.uk and plastering unmentionable insults about Cameron in big red letters on the front page. The timeline of events can be found here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/meg/4453821027/sizes/l/, it’s worth a look if you want a giggle.

Matching up to Obama’s campaign may be a difficult task, but come on, at least give it a go!

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