Tuesday, March 03, 2009

News24 gives 8 political parties blog space

News24 has given 8 political parties their own blog space. Those parties are (with links to their websites):

African Christian Democratic Party (ACDP)
African National Congress (ANC)
Congress of the People (COPE)
Democratic Alliance (DA)
Freedom Front Plus (FF+)
Independent Democrats (ID)
Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP)
United Democratic Movement (UDM)

Each party can use its own blog space from News24 to promote itself.

Now, we are living in a new era and the party that does not make good use of the internet (websites, blogs, video site – i.e. Youtube, community sites – i.e. Facebook, etc), will probably not make it in modern elections. An example of good internet use is the Barack Obama campaign. The man has the political and foreign experience of a lama, but hey, people are fooled on the internet everyday.

Just having an internet presence, simply is not enough anymore. In today’s world, presentation is everything. No matter how good a party’s policies are, if their online “look and feel” is not good, they will not attract many people for a second and third visit. Statistics have shown that badly designed websites can’t hold the attention of visitors for longer than about 7 seconds. Of course, any political party wants to keep a person around for a while.

Of the parties above, the website I like the most is that of the DA. It looks open and spacious, and has a friendliness that I do not see in the other websites. The websites I like the least are the UDM (bad colours and it looks cramped), IFP (font too small and does not make use of available screen space) and finally the ACDP (old fashioned look and feel and also does not make use of space; the front page says very little).

Without a doubt, I believe that among these parties, the  ACDP has the best policies. Policies that are based on an eternal standard. However, a gift given in an old shaggy box does not create excitement like a gift in beautiful flashy gift wrap! It is the presentation that will get the people to visit the website, and then they will discover the policies.

Concerning the blog space given to these parties, it should be used wisely. Blog space should not be used as a dumping ground for media releases. That is the old style way of communicating. It is also the most boring thing you can do with a blog. Dump your media releases in newspapers, printed or online! Blogs are there to interact with the reader. Make the reader feel like you are talking to him. Anyone can distribute information. That is not an art. But to get people to want to read that information is a completely different issue.

Those that are put in charge of writing for these blogs should be writing about current issues as if those issues are experienced by the writer. The writer should show a passion for the issues written about. That passion should be transferred to the reader. And, that is exactly what media release dumping can never achieve.

So, keep an eye on these blogs and see what they say and how they say it.

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