17 September 2010

Internet, Politics, Policy 2010: Campaigning in the 2010 UK General Election

The first day of the conference found an end in style with a well-received reception at Oxford’s fine Divinity Schools.

Day Two of the conference kicked off with panels on “Mobilisation and Agenda Setting”,“Virtual Goods” and “Comparative Campaigning”.  ICTlogy has been busy summarising some of the panels at the conference including this morning one’s with some interesting contributions on comparative campaigning.

The second round of panels included a number of scientific approaches to the role of the Internet for the recent UK election:

Gibson, Cantijoch and Ward in their analysis of the UK Elections drew attention to the fact that the 2010 UK General Election was dominated not by the Internet but by a very traditional media instead, namely the TV debates of party leaders. Importantly, they suggest to treat eParticipation as a multi-dimensional concept, ie. distinguish different forms of eParticipation with differing degrees of involvement, in fact in much the same way as we have come to treat traditional forms of participation.

Anstead and Jensen aimed to trace distinctions in election campaigning between the national and the local level. They have found evidence that online campaigns are both decentralized (little mention of national campaigns) and localised (emphasizing horizontal links with the community).

Lilleker and Jackson looked at how much party websites did encourage participation. They found that first and foremost, parties are about promoting their personnel and are rather cautious in engaging in any interactive communication. Most efforts were aimed at the campaign and not about getting input into policy. Even though there were more Web 2.0 features in use than in previous years, participation was low.

Sudulich and Wall were interested in the uptake of online campaigning (campaign website, Facebook profile) by election candidates. They take into account a range of factors including bookmakers odds for candidates but found little explanatory effects overall.


Note: This article gives the views of the authors, and not the position of the Policy and Internet Blog, nor of the Oxford Internet Institute.