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Window Dressing 2.0: Constituency Level Online Campaigns in the 2010

Benjamin Lee

UK political campaigns have become increasingly professionalised and as a result disconnected form voters. Initially the Web had been seen as a way for campaigns to reconnect, but this promise went unfulfilled with the majority of online campaigns taking the form of 'brochure-ware,' static replications of existing campaign literature. The 2010 General Election was the first time that Web 2.0 tools, especially social networking services that emphasise interactivity such as Facebook and Twitter, were available to campaigners, creating renewed expectations for more interactive online campaigns. This paper explores the adoption of Web 2.0 tools by constituency level campaigns across the UK using data from a nationwide survey of election agents. It goes on to look in more depth at how interactively campaigns used those tools using content analysis data from the North West of England. Results show that, whilst campaigns have been quick to take advantage of Web 2.0 with both Facebook and Twitter seeing widespread use, the majority have not used Web 2.0 to further interaction with voters, instead fitting it into existing none-interactive campaign strategies.

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