Thursday, 14 January 2010

Local LibDems Recognised For Online Activism

The Local Government Information Unit has nominated Reading councillor Daisy Benson for an award as one of 5 representatives across the whole country for their efforts at the forefront of the sphere of online activism.

The award is designed to highlight politicians who have "embraced new technologies and used them positively to communicate with communities" in order that their example can be used as a way to encourage best practise.

Congratulations must be given to Cllr Benson, who explains how she has picked up lots of issues concerning members of the public through her engagement with social networking sites.

Apart from her blogging, and being highly active on twitter and facebook, she also cites the innovative use of online video and photo sharing sites which have enabled her to use communication technology to push for political change and improvement.

The full list if nominations are:
  • Cllr Daisy Benson, Reading
  • Cllr Tim Cheetham, Barnsley
  • Cllr Ross Grant, Leicester
  • Cllr Alex Perkins, Canterbury
  • Cllr Steve Tierney, Cambridgeshire

Meanwhile ward colleague Cllr Glenn Goodall has been a reluctant convert to the advantages of online technologies, but decides the recent snowy period has convinced him of the power to make a positive difference when it is used well.

And Alan Bunce powerfully explains how he is won over by the immediacy and accuracy of new media to bypass propagation of negative ideological messages.


Update: Reading Post gets a quote from Cllr Benson, who says
"People sometimes dismiss tools like Twitter when really they should embrace them. It’s important to break down barriers between politicians and the people they represent to improve understanding on both sides."
However some commenters seem all too willing to dismiss the award on the grounds the LGiU is a public affairs advocacy group which saves taxpayers money by working to improve political services and championing local democracy. It was itself awarded 'Think-Tank of the Year' at the Public Affairs News Awards in 2008.

Oranjepan says:
It seems that Cllr Benson's selection to fight the general election in Reading West for the LibDems is at least partly off the back of the reputation and profile she has gained online - Labour and Conservative opponents will be concerned that the ability this provides her with to reach voters directly will have a big impact on the outcome of the result.

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