Compare this with ‘Ed Miliband’’s Google Plus page. I think it’s fair to say that Ed is having a hard time of it. The quotation marks explain why.
Ed’s problem is that it’s not Ed posting updates. It can’t be. Someone’s pretending to be Ed by posting sound bites, and then not responding.
All very 1990s broadcast. And therein lies the problem. You can’t expect visitors who are used to discussing things on Twitter, blogs and Google Plus to simply swallow Ed’s messages.
Responses are hostile and disrespectful because the Ed Miliband Google Plus account doesn’t respect the medium.
Obama’s approach is smarter. There’s no pretence that the president is sitting at his Whitehouse PC sweating over blog posts every few minutes.
The tumblog uses the third person when referring to the president—no fake ‘I’. We know some comms staffer is writing the blog becuase s/he gives some insight into some pretty mundane things, like sending out phones to Ohio staff. Note: this was confirmed today in an open response to several who are you? questions.
And while it’s mundane it’s also engaging. We like this kind of behind the scenes stuff because it’s work we might do. It’s honest.
Of course, the Obama site has neatly sidestepped the problem of hostile comments by using Tumblr’s largely pointless notes system. (Which does at least indicate some level of interest in whatever’s been posted.)
Allowing open comments on a personal political site is difficult because politics is such a tribal business.
But whoever’s in charge of online comms needs to rethink Ed’s Google Plus account. At the moment it’s just a magnet for bad feeling and, more importantly, a bit of a public embarrassment.