seven days to go – playing with your smartphone

This blog owes a lot to my friend and fellow Labour Party member Jono Read, so let me take this opportunity to express my thanks. Jono is the social media coordinator at the University of East Anglia. He introduced me to WordPress where this site is hosted. He also gives me advice on marketing the site using social networking. He has taken me up a challenging learning curve. In this course of this journey I have at last succeeded in finding our what he is doing when he is playing with his phone at Labour Party meetings or in the car when I am running him home when the meeting has finished. He is picking up messages on Twitter or sending Tweets.

Beyond question social networking activity is determined by the generation of the user. I pride myself on being technologically literate but only ever turn to these new channels to market ideas.   For relaxation I watch the television and for social interaction I go to the pre-game lunches at the rugby club. Jono by contrast is always interacting with others using social networking: his smartphone is a permanent extension of his arm and, doubtless, in the next stage of evolution, the two will fuse physically. When I started this blog I had 50 twitter followers; Jono has over 4000. He was the force behind a number of major digital initiatives including the Save BBC3 campaign. The supporting petition had celebrity backing and secured over 280,000 signatures. When Jono tweets it matters

Jono manages our social media. He updates the local party’s Facebook and Twitter page, produces weekly eNewsletter mailings for members and supporters; maintains the party website with news stories and candidate information. He also issues press releases to local and national media contacts and responds to any journalists’ requests.

We are lucky to have him. From my professional stance, as a business economist, I am sure that such activites will play a large part in the politics of the future. However I have to date seen no serious analysis, still less a serious evaluation of the effectiveness of the impact of social networking on political activity. There is a raft of journal activities to be written but, fortunately, not by me. I’d sooner watch the rugby.

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