I don’t know if you’ve seen the famous cartoon with the strapline : on the internet nobody knows you’re a dog. Well I put it to the test when I created a profile for David Cameron on MySpace.
The idea first came to me as some sort of parody. I think it was at the time that Dave was not denying that he took drugs, there were a wealth of cheapshots to take. But the thing was I admire the boy Cameron. The entire episode made me think: why didn’t he have a real MySpace page?
i) It would open up a new channel of communication with a constituency who didn’t want to listen to the Tories.
ii) At a time that he wanted to portray himself as hip with the downlow – or whatever it was the youth were saying at the time – this sort of innovation could benefit him.
iii) Above all the page would bring him to MySpacers whilst they were in their internet homes, a very personal space, so he’d make a totally different type of connection.
iv) Lastly, it would be a way to hear feedback from those who don’t care about party politics.
Not having any connections to a political party, and having not been able to speak to a Tory bod about it, I went ahead and did it. If the project worked I’d get back in touch.
That is how I became David Cameron for the day. Politicians tend not to speak for 25 year olds, but I have spoken for David Cameron. I found out the music he liked from some interviews, did a bit of snooping and put together the DC homepage.
I approached some London based MySpace users as David. The reaction was amazing. He was given a chance, users wanted to believe him and commended him on his bravery.
Andrea wrote :
this is so very brave of you!
do you really like Radiohead?
best of luck
The reaction to this adopting this form of communication was best summed up by Mild Mannered Reporter also known as Colin Wallace
” I do have to say my first reaction to seeing your page on myspace was one of cynical disbelief, but the more i thought about the idea the more i realised the potential for displaying a genuine concern for the youth of Britain, their opinions and a desire to educate people about the conservative party and what you, as leader, intend for the futcher….
I hope u read this and i hope this isn’t just a gimmick cos u have an opportunity to instill a bit more faith in me for the political system and I’m shore I’m not the only one that feels this way.
Good luck and don’t let the bad feeling of small minded people dishearten u in trying to reach out and make this work.”
Unfortunately I wasn’t able to follow this up as I got caught up with working for The Economist and trying to be the first blogging media salesperson. However, I still believe the idea is a great one (then again I would) and there are a few takeaways from the project.
i) The hunch was proved right. After just an afternoon of asking to be friends with MySpacers, David had over 120. If the project had continued he would have had a huge MySpace following.
ii) MySpacers thought he was one of them, showing the way you can make a personal connection through social media.
iii) On a personal level, it shows that I like to take the iniatitive and make projects go on my own. The right quality needed in small startup projects.
At a time when certain distinguished international newspapers are asking: “Who is David Cameron?“. The answer is, that for one afternoon only, it was Tom Shelley.
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