WEDNESDAY 7 APR 2010 9:47 AM


The new wave of parliamentary candidates has embraced social media, with the majority (82%) claiming that, once an MP, they would treat communications from constituents received through social media with the same priority as those received by letter or email.

As the country prepares to go to the polls, research carried out by PR firm Fishburn Hedges reveals how modern political campaigning is changing. According to the research, social media tools such as Facebook and Twitter will become core ways that constituents communicate with their MPs following the election.

In total, 83% of prospective parliamentary candidates (PPCs) already use Facebook in election campaigns but, interestingly, they plan to take social media tools to Westminster. More significant is the fact that 84 % of these ‘future MP’s’ say they intend to use social networking tools such as Facebook, Twitter and blogs to communicate with their constituents if they are elected to the House.

Simon Redfern, associate director at Fishburn Hedges said: "A lot of new candidates have really embraced social media tools and talk to their constituents using these channels. But what’s good for the campaign may not work as well in power.

“New candidates are innovating with the tools available.  You only have to look at Charlie Elphicke’s (Conservative, Dover) use of Chat Map, Chuka Umunna’s (Labour, Streatham) YouTube channel and Stella Creasy’s (Labour, Walthamstow) Facebook page to see how modern political campaigning is changing.”

The research also drew out some interesting comparisons in the use of Facebook versus Twitter. For example, while 83% of candidates comfortably use Facebook, only 50% say they use Twitter. Candidates for each of the three main parties tend to use Facebook in their campaigning equally, however Conservative Candidates are less likely to use Twitter.