Shout! Let it all out – Getting better democracy

24 Feb

Just a quick post on the kind of interactions that campaigning politicians and activists can expect on social media inspired by a tweet this afternoon by Alex Andreou @sturdyalex – his blog is at – here is his excellent (left-wing focus ) list which had me crying with laughter because it IS true!

By @sturdyalex

Shout out and get a shout back

Political debates on social media tend to be shouty and can descend fast; a bit like a drunk leaving a pub slurring “…and another thing” as they stumble out. (Especially during a campaign period as I learned hence my post on dealing with negative interactions Sticks and Stones – people generally react to the context they see you in but you do have control over your tone and your interactions.)

Also, you can set context by listening and joining other discussions rather than just broadcasting your views. Broadcasting rather than interacting definitely increases the broadcasting shouty replies. However, in fact, DEBATE is fine and disagreement is inevitable and I think we have to relax and accept that. Even, as Alex has, have a sense of humour about it.

Is debate or party politics the cause of our democratic deficit?

But, shouty debate between politicians is perceived to be a problem and is often cited a reason why people aren’t voting or engaging in formal democratic structures. I, often, see pleas for a more consensus based approach and actually the reality is that consensus is an important part of democracy but we can’t lose debate and disagreement because actually winning elections should be about winning the argument. The challenge for online politicians is choosing the right argument to engage in and win. I believe that actually the main democratic issue was the shift towards seeing local authorities and other bodies like corporations and building a consumer – provider relationship. If we can shift this relationship, and move from transactions to relationships this is a bigger key to unlocking better democratic engagement than stopping the shouty debates on or offline!

Any more lists?

Plea – I would love to see a list that Conservative councillors and activists made to go with this one and if I find one I will amend this post to incorporate. You can submit in the comments or via twitter if you like.


One Response to “Shout! Let it all out – Getting better democracy”

  1. ianchisnall February 24, 2014 at 6:06 pm #

    Sorry Emma, I haven’t a list as such. In the strict sense of the word I have received 10 once but only when I made the mistake of raising concerns about the gun lobby with some Americans on facebook. I get a version of 1 reasonably frequently and it is usually from people who assume I am a Green/Labour by people who know full well I am neither and they are simply wanting to wind me up. The “we’ve just been on the doorsteps in xxxxxxxx and met lots of people who want to get rid of xxxxxxxxx and replace them with us as soon as possible” tweets are something I would ban all parties from using if I was in the PR team for any of them – they simply smack of desperation to say something, that no one will believe even if its true.

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