Facebook (again): not impailing children or engaging in wanton pilage

A quick follow on to the last Facebook post, some possible good that can come out of the social networking site.

On the site, there’s a reasonably large (3, 801 members and counting) group set up to campaign against the Arts Council withdrawing its annual grant of £547,000 for the Northcott Theatre in Exeter. Scroll down the wall posts and there’s a quick post from Exeter’s MP, Ben Bradshaw, urging all those who’ve not yet done so to write a letter of protest to the regional director of the Arts Council, Nick Capaldi.

Putting to one side any views on the issues surrounding the Northcott, I find Ben Bradshaw’s post absolutely fascinating. Not the content, but the act of posting itself.

As I’ve not been in Devon for a while, I’ll assume he’s already done plenty of interviews with the local and national media – the traditional outlets. And, from many points of view, it makes sense for him to join the Facebook group if he’s a member. But posting on the wall was, if you like, an added extra, and would, I’d imagine, reassure the group members that he was listening and campaigning. From the MPs point of view, the group is a great way to stay in touch, first hand, with the concerns of his constituents.

I’m not a member of any majorly political groups, so I’ve no idea if this is common practice for MPs, but it feels like a positive step in the right direction.

Two common complaints about Britian’s political process are that the MPs can be a bit removed from reality (and, by default, the people they need to represent), and young adults just simply aren’t engaging or being engaged in the process.

Yes, it may be one post on one wall in one specialised group, but it shows there’s a potential way for politicians to engage with a large demographic of their voters who may not necessarily vote. It’s also a direct way for people who may not necessarily know how to get in touch with their MP, to voice their concerns. Ok, so the politicians may come in for some stick, but they should be thick-skinned enough to deal with that.

There’s a lot of potential for politics in Britain with Facebook, but only if the politicians themselves are willing to embrace it and realise these possibilities without just turning it into another exercise in self-promotion. I’ll keep a skeptical mind that this will happen but even by posting one comment on one wall one one pressure group, Ben Bradshaw is probably streets ahead of a great deal of his parliamentary colleagues.


0 Responses to “Facebook (again): not impailing children or engaging in wanton pilage”

  1. Leave a Comment

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s


Top Posts

RSS What I’m Twittering about

  • An error has occurred; the feed is probably down. Try again later.
January 2008
« Dec   Feb »

Throw letters together and send them to me

Yes, this is my name. And my email. Use it wisely or you're not getting a biscuit with your tea: garyllewellynandrews [at] gmail [dot] com

%d bloggers like this: