When Facebook first began to catch on, we all joined because it was a fun way to share photos and see what your friends and family were up to. There was no way to predict that this site would grow to wield the power that it does now on personal, business and political levels.
The recent election brought home just how much power this network has and, quite rightly, the coalition government has recognised that it isn’t something only useful for the election but in the longer term. It makes perfect sense to use the heightened engagement in politics from the election to retain involvement from a wider audience. This view is also directly in line with the greater vision of Facebook – it was created as an entity in its own right, far more than just another site because it enables interaction in a more powerful way than any other.
This is because Facebook isn’t just another website or technology, it is a social utility and should be used as such. No other channel or media offers this direct, real-time dialogue by which the public can be engaged and understood. Facebook is more than a network of people, it is a tool to reach out to them, share information and gain understanding which can’t be replicated by other tools available but is invaluable to the political sphere.
Of course, it’s not infallible. The very nature of Facebook means you can’t censor it and you have to take the rough with the smooth. But that’s just what makes it such a valuable tool for politicians who need to work more transparently than ever to clean up their profile following the scandals of recent months. The truth is, a political Facebook campaign isn’t a disingenuous attempt at being cool, it is something that any representative body can’t afford not to engage in modern times.
By Richard Perry, Chief Operating Officer at b2b agency, gyro