I read an interesting article in today’s Times from Ali Campbell on election poster campaigns and was refreshingly surprised at his level of insight. ‘Here’s a seasoned political communicator with a handle on two way comms’, I thought, as I read his views on social networking and the power of digital conversation.

If ever there’s an example of socio-political chatter, it remains to be seen each Thursday night at around 10pm with the deluge of comment surrounding BBC’s Question Time. Even without following the #bbcqt hashtag, the sheer volume of people publicly airing their thoughts on Twitter in real time is astonishing, and doesn’t seem to let up week on week. People make up their minds about a person or notion very quickly, and a medium like Twitter offers the perfect arena to share this, whether good or bad.
If you still need convincing that social media has the power to influence, I heard a profound speech from an executive producer at Sky News recently, where he categorically said that his newsroom spends more time in Tweetdeck than on the newswires. Essentially, if you have a story to tell, Twitter could be your direct dial to the national news network and a captive audience.

Given this, party political campaigns would do well to embrace social media with open arms. As Ali Campbell so adequately put it, by the time people have climbed ladders to deface a political poster, people have already made up their minds online.