In the run up to the US presidential election Obama was building a fan base on social networks like Twitter and Facebook, using his infamous blackberry to tweet from the trail. Not so for the major contenders in the UK 2010 election. Cameron has stated his belief that “too many twits make a twat” (although airbrushed campaign posters seem to have a similar effect). Gordon Brown flirted with the service a couple of years ago but now prefers his wife to do the tweeting.
Gordon has form for wheeling Sarah in when the going gets tough and the media picked up on the ‘social Sarah‘ effect during the Last Labour conference. The party apparatchiks will be well aware that Mrs B has amassed well over a million followers on Twitter.
Sarah Brown like the leader of the opposition is an ex PR person and there is anecdotal evidence that Sarah’s twitter account is being used as a PR channel.
- Sarah tweets a lot. Eight times yesterday. This is an acknowledged way of building a fan base.
- The page is linked to the Million Mums campaign to enlist people to speak out against needless deaths of women in pregnancy and childbirth around the world.
- Old tweets are deleted – there is nothing earlier than December.
If Labour does believe it has an ace up its party sleeve with this twitter account I think they are mistaken. A million is a big number but there are lots of foreign accounts and plenty of spam bots amongst them, neither group boasts a vote in the British plebiscite. More than half of registered twitter users are inactive. Furthermore if Sarah Brown deviates from her stated aim of raising awareness to counter deaths of women in pregnancy and childbirth and gears up to be part of the vote machine she will lose credibility and authenticity – and on social networks people deal in the currency of the authentic.