You Probably Just Lost My Vote
I try to keep SWT politically impartial. However, after recently exchanging Tweets with a Labour supporter, I felt compelled to write about the importance of adopting the right tone when engaging with people using social media. In a wider context, this is an issue many of our clients grapple with e.g. what happens when unofficial, but authoritative sources such as employees or supporters begin talking about or fighting your corner online. As I mentioned, I try to keep this blog impartial, so in the interests of balance, I urge you to listen to Tory candidate, Greg Knight’s jingle on his personal website. It will make you laugh.
In order to give you a bit more background, after the #Bigotgate affair I Tweeted how foolish Gordon Brown had been and that as things stood, I would be voting for Nick Clegg*. Shortly afterwards, I received an unsolicited reply from @blackburnvotes which was clearly pushing a political agenda. Things then escalated. I’m personally interested in politics and I am fortunate enough to know people who are active for the main parties, however I’m yet to make my mind up who to vote for – and like most people, I do not enjoy being spammed with political lines, especially on a social space.
Whilst, a few argumentative (or complimentary) Tweets from a party activist will not influence who I vote for, this mudslinging with @blackburnvotes sharpened my focus on Labour weaknesses. Although, the initial approach and engagement may have been well intentioned, in this instance it has resulted in a negative outcome. It has been a counter intuitive tactic. I suppose my big gripe is having someone who I’ve never spoken to before, spamming me with uninvited political views. Indeed, it did cross my mind that @blackburnvotes could be an elaborate troll.
Politics aside, I think this is an interesting case study of how someone, although well-meaning can cause more harm than good. Employees and supporters of organisations are having these sorts of online conversations all the time and whilst, we encourage organisations to embrace social media, in order to fully appreciate the potential benefits and risks it is best to acquaint them with basic guidelines or tips to consider. There are many cases of unofficial sources getting the tone right when engaging on social media, however there are many more who have got it wrong.
Whilst, I’m sure @blackburnvotes had the best intentions of the party at heart, it has inadvertently made me think about reasons not to vote Labour. Anecdotally, I know a lot of my peers have not made up their minds and 6 May will be a new experience for them. With the election race this close and allegiances yet to be forged, small differences like this, can make all the difference. Whilst, policy is integral, personal experiences and interactions have a big impact too.
Voters want to be wooed, not wound up. Labour probably just lost my vote.
*Subject to change.