In some spare time over the holidays I have been looking at what local politicians are doing with blogs and other social media. What stands out is that the Labour group in Ealing are enamoured of Twitter. This post covers what the Labour group on the council is up to online. Going through the councillors in alphabetical order …
New Perivale councillor Sitarah Anjum has a facebook page which has a number of videos of her singing sweetly in Hindi. She also has a more “corporate” Cllr Sitara Anjum facebook page.
Council leader Julian Bell is an established twitterer. He regurgitates (retweets in the jargon) council press releases and Daily Mirror editorials leavened with a few cultural and sporting references to demonstrate his roundedness no doubt.
Bell uses a screenshot from an interview with BBC London as his facebook and Twitter profile photos. I guess he is proud of his local TV appearance. I might have tried to find a photo with only one chin if it was me.
New councillor Daniel Crawford is also a new twitterer starting up over the Christmas holidays and then going quiet again after 11 posts. In his few posts he has majored on sports commentary. Maybe if and when he gains his confidence he will start to comment on Acton Central ward and Ealing council issues. Last year Crawford wrote a short account of the Ealing local election for the LabourList blog here.
Iskandarian also has a thinly populated blog, 11 posts in all 2010, see here. He does do very wordy posts, mainly on Armenian issues.
He also had a go at Twitter and closed his account.
Bassam Mafouz still has his website up from when he was standing as Labour candidate in Central Ealing and Acton. It has only been updated since May 4th to give links to his new Twitter account started up on 21st December and his now defunct facebook page. With hilariously bad taste Mahfouz uses his Twitter biog to echo the movie Gladiator with this line:
Father to an adorable son, husband to a beautiful wife.
The Gladiator quote is:
Father to a murdered son, husband to a murdered wife.
Mahfouz hasnâ€™t really worked out what to use Twitter for yet, his posts seem to be a bit all over the place, but I suspect that he will learn to use it effectively to burnish his own image as big beast of Ealing Labour. Mahfouz is I think the only Labour councillor brave enough to comment on the EalingToday forum.
Cllr Mik Sabiers had a Twitter account before he became a councillor and tweets many times a day. It is usually a quixotic mixture of personal minutiae and comments on the latest bands Cllr Sabiers has been to see in his itinerant role as Morning Starâ€™s music critic (I kid you not).
New Northolt Mandeville councillor Chirs Summers used to have both Twitter and facebook accounts before the election in April until Summers made the national press revealing that he was both working at the BBC dealing with complaints about political bias whilst also standing as a Labour councillor. More here.
Another new councillor, Hitesh Tailor is also an established twitterer. As the cabinet member for housing he is relatively senior and pretty confident in his approach although he does not add much value, merely repeating the party line of deficit denial whilst blaming all Labour’s local decisions on the coalition.
During the election most of the Labour ward teams had joint ward facebook accounts. It was not a particularly successful approach as you can see by visiting the East Acton one which is the only one still in operation. There are only 4 posts since May so pretty dormant. On 19th November an Ealing Labour Twitter account was started up so it looks like they think that this is the way to go.
Summing up 8 out of the 40 strong Labour group have been trying out communicating with the public with social media (if you exclude what are presumably private facebook pages). 6 out of the 8 are new councillors. It is notable that 15 out of 15 Labour Southall councillors are totally offline, dark, logged out, out of sight.
Judging by the way that only four of the Labour crowd are seriously online and the fact that some have clearly invested in some kind of online presence and pulled back I suspect that the Labour councillors are quite heavily whipped online. A couple of safe pairs of hands such as Bell and Mahfouz are allowed to Twitter away but for the rest they cannot be trusted unless they have had something going on before they were elected.