For the last few years every general election has been predicted as the one where the Internet could play a big part. In general it hasn't lived up to expectations. But with the majority of the UK population now on broadband, and the adoption of digital media generally being more widespread (thanks to blogging, YouTube, MySpace and a mobile phone adoption rate of 110%) the next election will surely be fought as much online as off.
The level of sophistication and knowledge of digital media has come on in leaps and bounds among the political parties and is evident in the Labour Party's latest email to members, which appears to employ some of the latest social software techniques.
It is pushing a system it dubs "MpURL". So for instance, under this there is a facility called Pin2Win whereby members can put a canvassing event and time on an interactive map. Other members will then be able to see what's going on near them and sign up to get involved. This is employing what's known in more commercial circles as 'crowdstorming'.
There is also a 'Shareboard' where people can advertise campaign skills or experience; a messaging service to get in touch with other members in a local area; there is even a 'live meetings room'.
Now clearly the other parties will be thinking about - if not building - very similar web sites features. Let the cyber election begin...