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Dipping their big toe into the blogosphere: The use of weblogs by the political parties in the 2005 general election

Nigel Jackson (Public Relations, Bournemouth Media School, Bournemouth University, Poole, UK)

Aslib Proceedings

ISSN: 0001-253X

Article publication date: 1 July 2006

1630

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to examine the use of weblogs by political parties in the 2005 general election campaign. It seeks to identify why, why not, and how parties used their weblogs during the election campaign.

Design/methodology/approach

The weblogs of the five political parties which had a weblog were assessed, and eight party e‐campaigners were interviewed.

Findings

The findings contrast with those of studies of the 2004 US presidential campaign where blogs appeared to play a significant campaigning role. Rather, in the UK, party blogs were essentially used as one‐way communication channels which added colour to party web sites. As a result, such weblogs may have encouraged visitors to return because of some form of voyeurism, but they were not either effective conversational, campaigning, or promotional tools.

Research limitations/implications

The paper is based on a UK general election of an experimental political communication channel.

Practical implications

Suggests the key elements required for the effective use of weblogs. Also suggests that individual candidate weblogs may be a more appropriate channel to reach electors than party‐controlled weblogs. The motivation for using a weblog seems to be essentially a judgement that it might be worthwhile experimenting with one. However, until there is significant evidence that weblogs can have a tangible effect, it is likely that they will remain merely part of the background to a UK general election campaign.

Originality/value

The paper provides a means of judging the value of weblogs within political communication by political actors.

Keywords

Citation

Jackson, N. (2006), "Dipping their big toe into the blogosphere: The use of weblogs by the political parties in the 2005 general election", Aslib Proceedings, Vol. 58 No. 4, pp. 292-303. https://doi.org/10.1108/00012530610687678

Publisher

:

Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2006, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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