Tuesday, August 12, 2008

If it's good enough for No10...

10 Downing St, the British PM's home and office, has launched a new version of its website.
It's powered by youtube, twitter, digg, delicious, facebook and flickr; interactive and connected activity left, right and centre (there's a political gag there somewhere...).

Podcasts and RSS are a given. It's even built on the wordpress blogging platform.

I'd love it to enable comments (rather than have to wait for the allotted moment of interaction with our elected servants). Sadly even the youtube videos and flickr images have comments disabled. That makes the social tools a bit too broadcast (we'll do the talking, you do the listening) for me. Shame.

I bet that level of control was set by someone who doesn't use social media, huh?

And it would be wise to have feeds from rivals if No10 wants to serve a community, rather than its own ends.

I don't expect them to enable crowd-sourced legislation any moment now, either (though I do believe our current political system serves the lowest common denominator in ways that fit the broadcast/industrial world rather than the networked one the new site's tools are attempting to tap into).

Check it out here. I was alerted to it via No10's twitter account. Yes, and it does follow me.

They say:

Our new site aims to keep you up to date with all of the developments of the PM’s activities through news stories, videos, Flickr images and our Twitter channel.

There are also plenty of interactive features available, including the opportunity to post your video questions directly to the PM, submit e-petitions and take part in webchats with ministers.

I say:
It's a sad day when many a media brand finds itself lagging behind Gordon Brown for use of social media, innit?


  1. I was recently doing some research on this following on from Obama's successes of tapping into Web 2.0 to create a dialogue with the voter as well as raising funds. PS The Guardian did a good article on this called The User Generated Candidate and there is a nice deck on Slideshare called Obama-Social

    It appears both UK parties have been tapping into Facebook, Cameron has a webcast going on and Brown was having an aide Twitter during his trip to the US.

    However I doubt they really get it yet. Firstly its a conversation not just another channel to pump out your rhetoric. And yes it has to be you not your junior aide.

    As you said wouldn't it be great if we could discover what they really stand for by open debate on issues in social media.

    Think about the cardon footprint improvement alone if they spent more time online listening and canvasing than driving around and knocking on doors.

  2. Hi Jamie: Love the idea of social media saving the planet!

    The step change that No10 has made here is that it has incorporated social tools into its primary point of communication, rather than playing with social tools to seed messages or reach out to what it might perceive as the social-media-using demographics (via facebook et al).

    And that's good news for those of us trying to drag social media into the mainstream.

    The bad news, as you point out, is that they don't quite get how it works. That social tools are about being human; communicating in two-way real time flows.

    Actually, I'm wrong to call this their primary point of communication - it's their primary point of dissemination.

    I'll bet some consultant or entlightened advisor begged them to give up control but that the powers that be were too scared.

    It's a shame because they would get so much more value from opening the dialogue.

  3. Unfortunately I don't think that it is reasonable to expect a prime minister or president to have time to run their own social media. I'd rather they were spending their time governing. Really is that good blogging/twittering needs a lot of time, something that they don't have.

  4. It's not good when people can't use it



The rate of change is so rapid it's difficult for one person to keep up to speed. Let's pool our thoughts, share our reactions and, who knows, even reach some shared conclusions worth arriving at?