Digital media strategies are a crucial component of contemporary political life.Established political elites world wide use database and Internet technologies to raise money, organize volunteers, gather intelligence on voters, and do opposition research.Politics has always been heavily driven by relationships and communication. That hasn’t changed! Technology has; andwith it, the many ways in which politicians are able to stay connected with constituents anywhere,“anywhen”.The social web has shrunk the communication supply chain.
In a few years of rapid change, we’ve come to expect to be keystrokes from the people we elect.Kenyans are now logging on to websites and social networks of our elected officials looking for MP positions on specific issues (policy and development) and to locate contact information we can action in the moment. Sometimes our efforts are rewarded with an enlightening virtual visit; often they’re not. The role of search engines,social networking, and creative content is always evolving. Tools including blogs, Flickr,YouTube, Facebook and Twitter provide new and more powerful ways for politicians to connect with their constituents, share their points of view and react quickly to news in their own words — this is a real opportunity for politicians to showcase their talents, triumphs and personality.The public no longer waits for the evening newscast, the morning paper or the monthly baraza/funeral speech from their MPs.Journalists also follow online conversations.
The chatter informs (sometimes even results in) news stories. Infact, Tweets, blog posts and other digital updates are often quoted when politicians aren’t available for comment. Social media and politics. They go together like money and politics, but without all the attached strings. The Internet offers a wide variety of opportunities for educating, recruiting, and mobilizing supporters, for educating the media and policymakers, and for growing a vibrant political community. All of this requires hands on management by someone who understands the full range of possibilities.
Kenyan politicians need to increase their digital influence between elections and issue-specific campaigns. They must continue to develop their online skills, using them to create and strengthen constituencies of support which can be activated when needed. Election time is not the time to start. Our leaders need to be more methodical about their use of socialmedia, remembering that each digital outpost (Twitter,Facebook Fan Page, etc)reflects well, or poorly, on them. Each property must be maintained with relevant and current information and should serve as a beachhead for their primary digital headquarters –their website(social network sites are not a replacement for websites).It’s not necessary, nor is it always possible or practical, to establish a presence on many different social networking sites. However, doing so means making a commitment that all channels be unique rather than redundant.
If it’s worthdoing, it’s worth doing in a way that gives supporters and potential supporters a reason to follow MPs in multiple places. Bravo to the MPs who are experimenting with the new digital tools and culture. You are the ones willing to take risks to discover new territory. It can be scary. Progress often is.
PS.Digital authenticity (twitter accounts particularly) .There is no point in hiring someone to run your twitter account! You are better off not being on twitter than having a paid IT person twit for you. I want to follow Uhuru Kenyatta for instance not the guy he has paid to twit for him.-(Uhuru fire that dude)
So far cheers to the following leaders on their websites