Campaigning Online

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Contents
1. Why should you campaign online?
2. In what elections does internet campaigning work?
3. Where to start
4. How to commission a website
5. Additional tools
6. Keeping an eye on your online reputation
[Print version of the entire article] 

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Why should you campaign online?      

Keyboard - CC / Flickr

Keyboard - CC / Flickr

As a starting point it is vital to think about the demographics of the electorate – where do you need to find support, and does that correlate with the highest levels of internet use?      

In short this means any green party, anywhere in Europe, has a very good case to be actively engaged in online campaigning. Across Europe older cohorts of the electorate (in percentage and actual terms) vote in greater numbers than younger cohorts. The graph of regular internet usage in Europe is precisely the opposite – with younger people using the internet much more than older generations.      

The very nature of green parties – edgy, forward looking, creating a new vision of the left and environmentalism distinct from the traditional parties of the left (most often linked to organised labour) – means the natural green electorate is going to be younger and more web savvy than supporters of the traditional Volksparteien.      

In terms of party organisation, and even at the level of ideology, greens should be at the forefront of the use of the web for campaigning. Green parties traditionally have flatter party structures, are more open to internal debate and discussion that longer-established parties, and these more ad-hoc and participative forms of organisation are common across the net. Furthermore, smaller green parties, especially in central and eastern Europe, may simply not have the long established structures of their older and often better funded opponents – effective use of the internet may act as a partial alternative in these cases.      

Any green would be in favour of one less poster and one less leaflet in election campaigns – purely in terms of sustainability. So while questions are legitimately being raised about the green credentials of data centres used to run websites, the environmental case for message delivery online, as opposed to via traditional routes, remains clear. The same applies financially – the costs of online activity can often be substantially lower than traditional means, although this is of course only so if online activity can be translated into success at the ballot box. The following sections of this article will explain how this can be done.      

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  1. Jocelyne 11/11/2010 at 11:15 | Permalink |

    I would just like to illustrate this article with what the EGP did during the launching of the latest campaign for the European elections.
    That is : three bloggers were selected and called “activists”. Each was blogging in English and in their mother tongue. Thus we had four languages : english, french, german and spanish. We were blogging on the EGP blog but also on Facebook and Twitter.
    In that way, the blogging was made very lively, and because we were men and women, from different countries, the approaches were different and could attract different people’s attention.
    I suppose we could do exactly the same thing in a local campaign with men and women, young people, and older people, locals and foreigners in the area, people working in offices and people working in factories etc.
    The weblink to my blog where you can find the blogging during the European elections: http://jocelynes.canalblog.com/