Are MPs Mostly Pontificating online?

It appears that politicians are forgetting the Social part of Social Media.

A new report from the Hansard Society – MPs Online: Connecting with constituents – has found that while most politicians are now using the Web, it is “often in passive ‘send’ mode with few MPs exploiting their full interactive potential” ie they are using new technology, to communicate in an old way, top down, broadcast style, rather than in a social or conversational manner.

So while some of the raw statistics in the report show that things are heading in the right direction:

  • 92% of MPs use email
  • 83% of MPs have a personal website
  • 23% of MPs use social networking
  • 11% of MPs blog

… how politicians are using these services, becomes the crucial question.

TweetMinister the directory of twittering politicians has issued a rapid rebuttal of the report, highlighting that Twitter is being used by 4% of MPs and yet was not mentioned by the report once.

There are some potential lessons for MPs from those in government, where the use of Social Media appears to be on the rise.

The 10 Downing Street site is greatly improved – compare via the Wayback Machine.

The London Summit website is getting good reviews, but alas seems to be struggling to cope with the attention.

The Power of Information Taskforce Report encouraged public comments by publishing a Beta version of the report online.

… and the recent Digital Britain report didn’t have an easy way of offer comments online, so one was set-up through unofficial channels instead.

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