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20 January 2010updated 01 Jul 2021 12:14pm

Clegg’s Twitter launch is nothing of the sort

Lib Dem social media strategy is classic old media

By Jon Bernstein

According to page 11 of this morning’s print edition of the Guardian, the Lib Dem leader, Nick Clegg, will today eschew “the typical podium and press conference set-up favoured by politicians”.

Instead, he will launch his party’s new policy for the young and out-of-work direct to his 6,892 Twitter followers, his 3,084 Facebook fans and a seemingly defunct Lib Dem YouTube channel.

The piece goes on to outline the policy announcement in some detail:

A 90-day promise that would see young people claiming jobseeker’s allowance for more than three months helped into training, a job or an internship. If they did not have any luck with these three, they would be fast-tracked on to a welfare-to-work programme, the flexible new deal.

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But, of course, this is no digitally inspired launch. This is classic press relations. The national press are suckers for stories about Twitter, as they once were for tales of eBay and FriendsReunited. The Lib Dem press people know this very well and will be delighted with the secondary coverage guaranteed by five column inches in the Guardian.

A Twitter and Facebook campaign may generate a debate — that’s what social media can do when used well — but it’s a fair bet that most people know about this latest tweet-fest thanks to old media.

 

Follow Nick Clegg on Twitter. Better still, follow the New Statesman team on Twitter

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