While there has been discussion about the impact of Web 2.0 on the upcoming Australian election (with the use of YouTube for policy announcements and simplistic debate), it seems to me that most of the political parties are using this time to perform some realtime testing of the technology. Not only are websites being overhauled, there are also Twitter IDs, MySpace and Facebook profiles being created. Not for the first time we are openly wondering whether kevinrudd or johnhoward are REAL or FAKE. Perhaps this is THE moment of authenticity in the election campaign.
While these Twitter profiles have been dormant for some time, I would not be surprised to see them spring back to life when the campaigning kicks off in earnest. The folks who run comms for politicians will be looking for any way to squeeze their message through to a saturated electorate come campaign time … and the Web 2.0 tools provide an unmatched (and IMMEDIATE) channel to do so — so long as a receptive community is already plugged in.
And this may be where there may NOT have been enough focus so far.
Building a digital strategy is much more than using a couple of sites/tools. It is more than a YouTube video and a few thousand viewings. It is about facilitating an experience that CONNECTS a community with the personality, energy, messages and actions of a brand/politician/celebrity through digital conversation. It is about input and feedback … and ownership of the debate. I am hoping to see more of these elements appearing in the next few weeks.
But for those of you who can’t wait, check out the Hill & Knowlton Election Predictor (with thanks to Steven Noble). You can play with the figures and reshape the face of the country — and even add it to your Facebook profile. What do you think, a swing to Rudd — or will it go down to the line? We’ll all know soon enough.