During my time working at party HQ doing online campaigning, one of our most successful projects (cooked up with the help of Rob Fenwick and Martin Tod) was the ‘campaign buttons’ – a simple piece of code which let bloggers and those with other websites easily display campaign adverts from the party.
It was a great way for the party to be able to push out quickly and widely adverts for new party campaigns, policy launches and the like, whilst for those running sites it made for some automatically updated and useful content which they did not have to look after.
Since I left, the campaign buttons rather fell out of favour. Although the code is still running, zombie-like continuing to churn through the motions, the buttons themselves have not been updated for an age. As a result they now display a mix of broken images and trips down memory lane, such as the old campaign to encourage people to look up their MP’s voting record on Iraq.
Chatting to people at party HQ, there aren’t any plans to revive them. That’s a shame, although understandable as there is other internet and IT work taking a higher priority.
On my usual basis that regretting other people’s (in)action should be leavened by taking practical action yourself, I’m therefore testing out running an all-new campaign button service (coding by the as ever excellent Simon Dickson).
A beta version is now up and running, and feedback very much welcome. [Update – the beta version is no longer live.]
As it’s a beta, getting it running on your own site doesn’t yet have a simple set of instructions or a pre-packaged widget – but is still pretty straightforward if you’re used to customising sites and inserting a little bit of code.
To try it out on your own site, add the following script:
When it’s finished, I’ll make it freely available for anyone to use and update the content. The content will be selected to be suitable for sites read by the public – e.g. stories aimed at voters about what the Liberal Democrats are doing, rather than internal debates about the party.
As I said above – feedback most welcome.