26 October 2011

Thinking paper #173: Predicting future political careers through current social media output

By Charlie Umtali


Umpteen thousands of recently-minted Social Media Consultants have in recent years been giving us all the hard sell on how important it is to refine and defend ones online persona. This is particularly important for our aspiring politicians of the future, and we at the IIPBA have a few top tips for spotting whether you are digitally limber enough for a steady ascent of the UK's greasiest pole.

Party Prattlings
  • Do you find yourself live-tweeting PMQs, retweeting nearly every bland Cameroneon utterance with a raucously supportive slapping of the nearest solid surface and an exhaltory vocalisation of "Sound!", which in the process of doing so spills Gin and Tonic over your Carlton Club membership? Congratulations, you are well on the way to being a future member of Her Majesty's Loyal Opposition. Please consult your local Conservative Association (if one even exists within a reasonable radius of your home).
  • Do you find that most of your Facebook friends are in fact people you met at various protest marches, sit-ins, and other "Yeah man, we're, like, sticking it to the Tory scum" events, rather than actual family and people you choose to associate with? If so, you're well on the way to meeting the requirements of a massed Labour canvassing campaign for your local Council, with you as the shiny smiling face on the leaflets.
  • Do you find yourself posting snippets of Mark Pack's Liberal Democrat Voice mailout to your blog? A hearty slap on the shoulder for you, you are Mark Pack.


If anything, social media permits a true realising of a core tenet of the Post Buerucratic Age, that of "The Government that governs best is the government that leaves it to people to govern themselves, but then still takes all the credit". By portraying their online personas as painfully predictable characters fighting the battles of thirty years ago, come the night of losing their electoral virginity they might find that their tweets, statuses and harmless cyber banter, might bite them on their "glad we got degrees while tuition fees were low" credentials.

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