by Stephen Tall on July 13, 2009
That’s the finding of the Hansard Society research paper MPs on Facebook:
while over half (51%) of Liberal Democrat MPs have a presence on Facebook, the figures for Labour and the Conservatives are 15% and 9%, respectively. … On a per-party basis, Liberal Democrats MPs appeared more likely to see Facebook as a communications tool (69%) but were the least likely to have personal or inactive pages. Conservative MPs were as likely to have a campaigning page as a personal one (24%) but were still most likely to be using Facebook as a communications tool (41%). Labour were the party most likely to be campaigning via this medium (33%), only slightly fewer MPs than those using Facebook as a communications tool (37%). Labour and the Conservatives were most likely to have inactive and indeterminate pages (both 12%).
The paper highlights Lib Dem MP Jo Swinson’s successful efforts to interact with her 1,500+ Facebook friends via Twitter, commenting on topical political issues, reporting on what she is doing, and tweeting from PMQs.
Our recommendations for MPs using this platform are straightforward; publish by all means but also be prepared to listen and respond. It’s the two-way conversational nature of social media that sets it apart and this direct engagement is increasingly what the public wants to see—and be a part of.