Last chance for tech to be an advantage in an Irish Election?

Simon McGarr has honoured me by asking me to check into now and then while he tends to one of the future leaders of our country. Hopefully I’ll start posting stuff over there soon. I think it odd that this election might miss out on using video and web tech in general to execute an election campaign while the next election in 4 or 5 years time might actually have people going “Duh, of course we are using the web. Everything we are doing is tied in to the web.” Next election we are not going to be seeing newspaper articles about “blogs” and the shiny new fad of “web videos” and candidates in Mayo uploading videos with the Saw Doctors singing in the background. Blogs and videos will be tools just like leaflets are tools now for campaigns. Seen a newspaper article about pamphlets lately? (Some guy is going to link to one now I bet and prove me wrong!).

There’s been meagre efforts from most of the parties at this stage but nothing spectacular. Labour’s “But, Are You Happy Video?” and the website tie-in was a bit of fresh thinking but that’s surely just a start? The PDs have started doing some videos too and I note Dan is pissy because the Sunday Times didn’t mention him in an article on them. Dan, who cares? The Sunday Times don’t seem to have an Irish website anymore for their articles. The ones who’ll find the YouTube probably won’t be the ones reading a print version of the paper. A political consultant recently told me the average time for reading the Sunday Times is now 14 minutes. If they’re not uploading all that content so it can be found by the great Google then they’re fucked really. What’s the average time spent watching YouTube in an Irish office these days?

As Dan notes, his video has been watched way more than the PDs one. But Dan, your video is still clobbered by another politician. Guess who’s been the most viewed politician though? Trevor Sargent. And where? A YouTube clip of him on Podge and Rodge. 8175 times. 7-8 times more than the next best video. (Roughly) He still comes across as a boring shite though. (Staying with the Podge and Rodge mentality.)

Some Video viewing stats:
Harney asking to give her back her job after the election. – 661 times.
But are you happy? – 696 views
You pay taxes so we don’t have to – 1,100 times (Done twice, viewed 800 times and 300 times)
Enda Kenny looking like a cast member of Trigger Happy TV done to the music of some daytime soap – 1,353 times
Pisstake of Bertie – 1,432 times.
Trevor on Podge and Rodge – 8,175 times.

Irish Bloggers on de tele – 970 times.
The banned Trocaire Ad – 6,401 times.

But Video and blogs are just two bits of technology that can be used and exploited and really are not. This election I think there’ll be some advantage for the party that starts using more web technologies where next-time there’ll be no advantage. They’ll be used by all. So, my glorious and intelligent readers, what off-the-shelf tech do you think politicians should be using to interact with the voters and to run their campaigns? No vapourware shite now please.

Bonus Video. Apple fan? Remember their amazing 1984 video? Now it’s been remixed again for Obama and takes shots at Hilary Clinton:

Morning Edit: Votetube and Simon were name-dropped on Morning Ireland this morning but an interview with Simon was unfortunately bumped. He’ll have his day again though!

7 Responses to “Last chance for tech to be an advantage in an Irish Election?”

  1. Adam says:

    Interesting statistics, but the question that could be asked is firstly how advantageous is the high audience to Trevor Sergent/The Green Party from an electoral point of view and secondly how many of these people watched the video from a voters perspective?

    In the first instance, Labour’s video was designed to get their policies across while the Podge and Rodge bit wasn’t (designed to get Green policies across). The fact that the Sergent clip ranks about the average viewership for plenty of the Podge and Rodge youtube clips suggests to me that they were watched by Podge and Rodge fans – people looking for entertainment and not serious debate. In other words the viewership figure doesn’t equate at all to the real political impact.

    That, in my opinion covers the second point too as very few people actually watched Podge and Rodge to be informed in any way… the problem from Labour’s perspective is that their clip was probably watched by the party faithful and those sympathetic to Labour ideals – at least Sergent was getting a new audience rather than preaching to the converted (although it’s debatable as to what use a fresh set of ears is when no one really cares what you’re talking about anyway, or you’re not being given a platform to change minds).

    The same can be said for the Enda Kenny clip – that many people didn’t watch it because it had substance (it doesn’t), they watched it because of its Office-alike cringiness.

    What the political parties need to do is offer something worth watching (entertaining, thought provoking, controversial) that can’t be found anywhere else. The Trocaire ad was so popular because its treatment caused controversy and people wanted to make up their own minds. The Sergent and Enda clips were so popular because people watched them to have a laugh and be entertained (and sadly nothing else). The PD and Labour clips were comparably less popular because they’re nothing but party political broadcasts and only a tiny percentage of the population don’t switch those off on the TV anyway.

    There are far more productive ways of taking advantage of the medium – why not create an actual narrative? There’s nothing in these clips we don’t hear elsewhere, there’s nothing to provide a “water cooler moment” and nothing to make the viewer want to watch it again or even to the very end.

  2. Dan Sullivan says:

    I was still feeling the effects of the lemsip though the post was probably more a of hissy-fit than I had intended. That said Mr. Potato Head didn’t get a mention in the ST either which is also a no fair in my book.

    I suppose the point is that the DTP were writing about something that they said was happening but they writing about it and so giving it a boost so that it is happening. They had three pictures from the one vid it isn’t like they were caught for spaces. I certainly think Mr Potato head could have replaced the image of McDowell and no one would have been the wiser. I guess we’re still flitting between Gandhi’s they ignore and they laugh at you phases.

  3. Simon McGarr says:

    I’ll be on Morning Ireland after 8am today talking about votetube style videos. The hook is the above posted US video.

  4. Simon McGarr says:

    Morning Ireland dropped VoteTube due to late breaking Iraq news. We’ll have to keep it our secret for another while.

  5. Damien B says:

    That Obama/1984 video is great; very strong execution of a great idea. I wonder how much “user generated” content we’re going to see on this side of the atlantic, this time out?

  6. Dan Sullivan says:

    Kudos, Simon whenever you do get to bring the noise to a mass audience. Is it easier to do Morning Ireland now that you’ve had the sleep deprivator module installed?

  7. Simon McGarr says:

    We’ll try Tubridy tomorrow (Friday.