What will Obama learn from the next British general election?

Yesterday I was at the Future e-Democracy 09 conference on a panel talking about “Digital campaigning post-Obama” along with Sam Coates (from MyConservatives.com) and Sue MacMillan (Labour’s Head of New Media) and chaired by the Hansard Society’s Andy Williamson.

There were some good questions but the best I thought was one that turned the session on its head, asking us what we think Obama might learn from the internet in the next British general election.

Sam’s answer was probably not much, because we’re playing catch-up with Obama and he also had far more resources than any British party. Sue was more optimistic, saying there would be something he could learn – but given the experimental and fast moving nature of internet campaigning, she wasn’t sure yet what it would be.

Myself, I went for picking one of the online items from my list of “What did Obama get wrong?“, namely Twitter. Obama’s use of Twitter was pretty poor. The tweets were dull, there was little interaction and there was little outreach. So unless one of the main parties make a cataclysmic error on Twitter, we will all end up using it far better than he did.

Let’s hope I didn’t tempt fate…

Thanks to Dan Jellinek and the team for organising the event.

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