National, over confidence and social media

2014, election year. National are just about to complete their second term in office and will be hoping for a third. With Labour appearing to be in disarray at the moment, with questions around David Cunliffe’s use of trusts, the leak of their IT policy, their not having moved significantly in the polls since last year, it would not be surprising if National were to be confident of their position and their chance of winning the next election. However, are there signs of it on social media?


Social media has never appeared to be taken that seriously by the PR people in the Prime Minister/National Leaders’s office. For a number of years the National Leader’s office have employed, or contracted, someone to, among other things, produce short video blogs for MPs and a lesser extent Ministers. Twice in the last 2 years this job has come up for applications, and both times there has been a long period between applications closing, the person leaving and the new person being selected and starting. This must have resulted in a significant drop in viewers for the MPs blogs. At the same time, during the most recent application process, the Dominion Post picked up on the job ad and ran a story.  The position was also advertised on Star Now, where it was initially listed as being unpaid.

over confidence


Now creatives being asked to work for free or very little is an issue that is wide spread in the creative industries. It is seen as a sign of their work not being taken seriously. So it is a rather serious mistake for them to post it on something akin to a classified ad, that was bound to be picked up on social media, with an implication that there would be no pay. Now this is obviously not the case, it was corrected. However, the fact that whoever posted it was not more careful is to me a sign of over confidence. Add to this the fact that there was a period where there was no in house video blog production, for the second time in recent memory, shows a sign of complacency and over confidence. An attitude of “we don’t need this, it isn’t important”.


As was alluded to in my earlier post on John Key’s twitter account, that account, along with the National Party account are both very much used as one way communication tools. There is no interaction with those who follow the accounts. This has not changed, there are no signs that those in control of the PM/Party’s Twitter accounts are making a move to a more two way, conversational model. Even though this lack of two way conversation has been noted as far back as 2008, the fact that no effort has been made in 6 years to move towards rectifying this indicates a level of  overconfidence. An attitude that they have nothing to learn or to improve on.


Add to this the fact that there appears to be no coherent social media policy across the party. This is backed up by taking a look at the 44 National MPs on Twitter. Out of the 44 MPs on Twitter, 27 have sent less than 1000 Tweets,  7 have sent less than 100, and 2 have sent none at all. In some ways, accounts with very little or no activity and more damaging than having no accounts at all. Having an account with very few Tweets can be seen as implying you don’t take the medium seriously, nor the people who use it.


There is also no apparent over arching social media plan. Non of the MPs have consistent branding  across their Twitter pages.  Unlike general debate each sitting week, where there is a coherent theme, there is non of this on social media. Each MP is left to do their own thing.


If you are going to use any form of media, you should use it well. This includes social media. The fact that the National Party, nor any of it’s advisors, have realised this is indicative of a disregard for social media and the potential power it holds. But also an indication of over confidence, an attitude of we don’t need that, we can do without it.