Campaigning with Social Media and Issues of Control

Yesterday I was perhaps too hasty on my comments about Jo de Joux. I have had a few comments on the tipline that suggested I may have been a bit hasty. That also coincided with my review of the campaigns of National and Labour using social media.

It can’t be easy being a campaign manager for a major political party. Especially when your campaign is designed around the leader. The last thing you need is distractions provided by dickheads and off message candidates and MPs…bearing that in mind and removing the precious ego fueled rants of ticked of MPs you have to come to the conclusion that actually Jo de Joux did a good job on controlling the message of MPs, candidates and John Key. That is a mammoth task and the fact that there were no Social Media Own Goals by anyone in National of consequence just goes to show the fine effort done in that regard. Even Tau Henare was able to remain on message.

If campaign managers have to take the blame for screw ups then they should also take the credit for when things go right. Campaign managers need to focus of the campaign and not be distracted by things like….oh I don’t know…bike races. In that respect National and Jo de Joux deserve plaudits for staying on message and growing their party vote. I sure didn’t see Jo challenging a Labour MP to a triathlon or some other silly race of sorts.

Now contrast that performance with zero mistakes with that of Trevor Mallard and his own social media disasters.

To start off with their campaign was built around their web presence. We all know how that started off this year after I busted their site wide open. The disaster that unfolded from that also dried up their donor because of lackadaisical credit card processing. Then of course there was the total lack of control of Labour candidates and MP with Facebook and Twitter. Almost daily there was some sort of SMOG, in fact it was because of Labour that the term was invented.

Then of course was the unedifying vision of Trevor Mallard engaging in an asymmetrical war with a blogger. He sledged, he challenged, I accepted and then he spent the next 3 months making sure his bike riding matched his mouth. Sure I trained and sure I was mouthy back, but I had nothing to lose. For three months while Jo de Joux was working hard on National’s error free campaign, Trevor Mallard was cycling the streets so he wouldn’t lose a bike race with a blogger.

Trevor Mallard took his plans for winning the election to caucus. At meeting after meeting he told caucus that Labour would the election on the web with initiatives like Red Alert, with Facebook and with Twitter. Obama did it and so would Labour.

Well, how did that work out for them?

Not so good is how. Red Alert captured in writing many silly ideas and posts and opinions. Facebook and Twitter showed up many personal details about candidates and MPs that caused weekly embarrassment including massive stuff ups from high ranking spokespeople.

The fact that the campaign manager couldn’t control his own message or temper for that matter was problematic. It was my research for this post that showed the stark difference and why I have had to modify my stance on the performance of National’s campaign manager. It comes down to control and control sometimes causes friction. Lack of control though ends in disaster which Trevor Mallard is busily proving he still lacks with another nasty personal attack on me and a couple of friends when he should in fact be showing some remorse, humility and offering up a massive apology for helping Phil Goff tank Labour to their lowest score since 1928 with his inept and hopeless campaign.

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As much at home writing editorials as being the subject of them, Cam has won awards, including the Canon Media Award for his work on the Len Brown/Bevan Chuang story. When he’s not creating the news, he tends to be in it, with protagonists using the courts, media and social media to deliver financial as well as death threats.

They say that news is something that someone, somewhere, wants kept quiet. Cam Slater doesn’t do quiet and, as a result, he is a polarising, controversial but highly effective journalist who takes no prisoners.

He is fearless in his pursuit of a story.

Love him or loathe him, you can’t ignore him.

To read Cam’s previous articles click on his name in blue.