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- Posted in Company News, Competitons by Fran

With the Dáil dissolved and a General Election set for the February 25th, we will undoubtedly see our political parties, supporters and candidates bombard us with leaflets, posters and billboards spewing out their plans, dreams and promises to win our votes.

Twitter and Facebook Cushions provide some Social Media comfort.

The trouble is they have a new tool to exploit, and that is ‘Social Media’. We are likely to see some ‘Presidential style’ on-line campaigns being launched to ‘better’ the one carried out by Barack Obama. To date, very few politicians use social media, and those that do are relative newcomers.
So, what’s in store for us in the coming weeks? Probably more instances like this one highlighted by Brendan Hughes in his article “How not to use social media in politics”. However, we may have an exception that is Dylan Haskins, a young 23 year old Independent candidate for Dublin-South, who appears to be embracing this new media – only time will tell.

You may ask have we gone all political. No way. We much prefer working with Styrofoam and creating new products for our clients. However, we are users and advocates of social media, but only when the engagement is carried out in a honest and efficient way. We also needed a storyline so that we could tell you about the new cushions we received from Heli Miikkulainen-Gilbert.
Heli is a Finnish born designer working in Co. Wicklow who is combining her design and social media talents to create this great range of custom-made cushions. We just hope that our politicians can be equally successful in combining their politicking and on-line efforts.

So, if you were to give one social media tip to your local candidate or political  party, what would it be?
The best tip/comment will win either a Twitter or Facebook cushion that will comfort the winner when the next Dáil resumes. We’ll pick the winner on Election day.

Sign up to our Newsletter to further your chances of winning one of these fabulous cushions.

Post a Comment

21 Comments

  1. paul savage

    Posted February 3, 2011 at 9:06 am | Permalink

    Hi Fran, I think that the politicians should really start to use social media, but not in just the plain way of having say a FaceBook fan page or pushing their ideas on twitter, but I think they should use it to be a little bit more transparent. One great thing would be to use Foresquare (including the push to twitter) to show off their location and what they are doing around Ireland. Also it would be nice to know where your TD is, and when they are present in the Dáil. Foresquare could cover both of these.

    Regards,
    Paul

  2. Lorraine

    Posted February 3, 2011 at 11:12 am | Permalink

    My tip would be while on facebook not to poke the bear ie Joan Burton. http://www.google.ie/m/search?site=images&source=mog&hl=en&gl=ie&client=safari&q=angry%20looking%20Joan%20burton#i=16 She will NOT be happy!

  3. Fiona Ashe

    Posted February 3, 2011 at 4:58 pm | Permalink

    My tip is to use video creatively. YouTube is the second biggest search engine after (its owner) Google and video is the most popular content to share on social networking sites. Dylan Haskins understands that. Any candidate seeking election increase their chances of success in the upcoming election by using video effectively as part of an interactive social media strategy.

  4. Fran

    Posted February 3, 2011 at 8:07 pm | Permalink

    Thanks for all your comments so far.
    @ Paul I had never considered the geo location aspect. It would be an excellent tool for our representatives to use. The fact that Facebook places has gone live in Ireland today gives them no excuse, as it is possible that they wouldn’t have heard of Foursquare or Gowalla.

    @ Lorraine. Joan looks pretty happy on her Facebook page, but you’re probably right not to poke her :)

    @ Fiona It was interesting coming across Dylan Haskins site. It looks like he has a good understanding of how to use Social Media on different platforms to communicate his message. He’s also getting plenty of attention using the traditional media channels too.

  5. lisamareedom

    Posted February 5, 2011 at 10:45 pm | Permalink

    As with every commercial Soc Medj -Try listening. Actually, that should be for every aspect. I just hate tweeters who only tweet, never reply and never engage. Same with Polies. xx

    ps- are you making a styrafoam Enda Fran?

  6. Fran

    Posted February 6, 2011 at 2:18 pm | Permalink

    Thanks for the comment Lisa.
    A very valid point, but many politicians obviously don’t listen or have selective hearing.
    The quotation by Epictetus “We have two ears and one mouth so we may listen more and talk the less” springs to mind. They should take heed.

    No polystyrene for Enda yet, but we have had come politicians using our styrofoam props.http://www.madeinhollywood.ie/blog/polystyrene-politicians/

  7. Steven

    Posted February 10, 2011 at 9:42 am | Permalink

    Hi Fran,
    My tip to politicians using Soc Med. is the same tip I would give to them when they do anything – Take some time to try and understand and learn about the thing before swanning in and expecting people to be glad you showed up. To be fair some of them are using Twitter in a fairy engaging way (at least as engaging as the rest of us) but then you have the likes of Eamon O Cuiv who was probably fed the line ‘everybody is at it so you might as well’ who as far as I know has only tweeted twice and one of those was to apologise for being asleep at one of his party’s do dahs, priceless.

    Good post.

  8. Michael

    Posted February 10, 2011 at 9:45 am | Permalink

    I hope they don’t start using Social media- its bad enough seeing them on TV, on papers & hearing them on the Radio, full of crap the lot of them and who ever gets in as nest government will be the best of a bad lot.

  9. Dawn Baird

    Posted February 10, 2011 at 11:53 am | Permalink

    I think it’d be awesome if some of our local politicians would organise a tweetup, so they could meet the people they claim to represent, and listen to their concerns. Also, I think Twitter can be a powerful too for politicians, to help provide a human voice to the pinstripe suit.

  10. Fran

    Posted February 13, 2011 at 9:45 pm | Permalink

    Thanks again for the all your comments.
    @Steven. This was a concern that I had, that they’d jump on the bandwagon because it was the ‘thing to do’ and not understand what they were doing.

    @Michael. I thought that it would be interesting to have our politicians communicate a message/policy in a 140 character. It would seem that they aren’t up to the task.

    @Dawn. A tweetup, that would be an excellent idea. I don’t think that it will happen in this election, but I could see it happening in the future. They might promote a meeting/press briefing using a hashtag if they were particularly proactive in social media.

  11. Catherine morris

    Posted February 13, 2011 at 10:05 pm | Permalink

    I think the best tip i could give anyone including politicians would be to think before you tweet/update. Not only in the content but in how it is written. Good grammar and punctuation should be expected as well as structure.

  12. Fran

    Posted February 15, 2011 at 8:28 pm | Permalink

    Catherine, thank you for your comment.
    “Guilty” as charged. The restriction on the number characters can encourage poor punctuation and ‘text speak’ when you are trying to convey a message, mind you I’m not a politician, so I’d hope they’d be more diligent than me. ;-)

  13. Pauline sargent

    Posted February 22, 2011 at 11:45 am | Permalink

    Hi Fran

    Great post & I think if anything this election has sparked the politicians interest in social media & the many benefits of using it. And fair play to the ones trying to use twitter.

    My tips for this election would be
    1)to use the #hashtags properly. As in the #ge11 one & your constituency # as in my area it’s #dubsc.
    2) Respond to the people who have taken the time to tweet you directly.
    3) Don’t broadcast just engage.

    After the election, I’m with Dawn I would like to see regular tweet ups in my local area & tweets about important local meetings or decisions being made that the wider community that we could get involved in. It could be a great communication tool & could generate greater awareness of local issues if used well.

    Pauline

  14. Emily

    Posted February 22, 2011 at 8:54 pm | Permalink

    Unless you know what your going with social media, (by the looks of things most of you don’t) leave it alone. You come across as idiots. If you can’t do that, use it to expand on your promises by answering the question “how are you going to do what you promise”.

  15. Christina Giliberti

    Posted February 23, 2011 at 9:40 am | Permalink

    Hi there,
    My top tip is to meet the people head-on online. Don’t shy away from arkward questions or block questions. Be as honest and transparent as possible. Provide open Q&A’s, list on a tab all of your intentions for the country, ask ‘fans’ to suggest ideas for improvements and where they feel funds are lacking in the community. You don’t have to do anything out of ordinary, just apply yourself to dedicating time to listening to people.

  16. Ruth

    Posted February 23, 2011 at 9:57 am | Permalink

    Be honest!! Though that seems to be something all politicians lack

  17. Fran

    Posted February 24, 2011 at 8:07 pm | Permalink

    Thanks again for all your comments.
    @Pauline I agree that the parties and candidates have more of an awareness of social media, but I’m still not sure that they want to use and engage with people long term. It would be an excellent tool for them to use particularly for people in their constituency.

    @Emily Unfortunately they don’t stay clear, their “advisor’s/consultants” tell them otherwise. The Fine Gael social media campaign has been badly received, judging the tweets in my stream and comments on Facebook.

    @Christina “just apply yourself to dedicating time to listening to people” I think this is the crux of the problem, they haven’t and they won’t spend the time listening or engaging with the public. If they did dedicate some energy into a coherent social media policy, I think it would pay dividends for them. I don’t think may of them are willing to ‘invest’ the time or effort.

    @Ruth Now that’s the €85 billion question. I would say it’s been proven that some TD’s have been”quite miserly” with statements filled with honesty and truthfulness.

  18. JL Pagano

    Posted February 25, 2011 at 9:33 am | Permalink

    No reasonable person will blame you for using social media to push your political agenda, just don’t make it a one-way street. Make a point of engaging with people who challenge you in a respectable manner. And the odd tweet or facebook post that reminds people you’re an actual person won’t hurt either ;-)

  19. Fran

    Posted February 26, 2011 at 12:51 pm | Permalink

    Thanks JL for the comment.
    I agree that much of the social media ‘conversations’ have been one way, with the parties ‘pushing’ their own messages. It would be nice to see some of the personality of the candidates coming out, after all they are human………. I hope.

  20. Fran

    Posted February 28, 2011 at 7:36 pm | Permalink

    Due to the number and quality of the comments we have decided to choose the winner at random. The lucky winner is… Pauline Sargent. Congratulations.
    Pauline has the choice of a Twitter or Facebook cushion.
    We would like to thank you all for you comments and hope that you will enter our competitions in the future.

  21. Pauline sargent

    Posted February 28, 2011 at 11:27 pm | Permalink

    Hi Fran

    Wow…. delighted to be a random winner. Love these cushions. Can I get a Facebook one please. And your right the comments were great as indeed was the twitter coverage in the lead up to the election. I’d love to see the constituency #hashtags kept active, so we can keep follow what our TDs are doing, enage with them & interact on local & national issues.
    You never know by the next election the constituency hashtags may be on every poster.

    Huge thanks to you & to Heli for the cushion :-)

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