She will be pitting her wits against her Conservative and LibDem equivalents Jeremy Hunt and Lynne Featherstone. Her task is to get the Labour Party's internet operations into shipshape before the next election. Quite a task, you might think, but according to Kerry, Labour's doing very nicely thank you and outgunning the other parties on the internet.
Kerry's first interview has been given to Mark Hanson on LabourList. I agree with some of the points she makes, but the interview makes for an interesting read, if only to confirm how complacent the Labour Party has become about its internet presence. She is incredibly misinformed about her opponents' internet strategy, accusing it of being centrally controlled.
They seem to be doing everything centrally whereas we have people who are just getting on with it.Er, how exactly is it centrally controlled? She then rather contradicts herself when she is asked: "Do you feel its right that the Tories are characterised at being better at social media than us?" She replies...
I don't agree with that at all. There are two right-wing celebrity bloggers in the form of Iain Dale and Guido Fawkes, who have a fair amount of traffic and a lot of mainstream media profile. This is quite different from the Conservative Party being great on the internet.
Ah, so it's not centrally controlled, after all. Glad that's cleared up. She continues...
I think the word has come down from Tory HQ that their MPs are to stay away from social media at all costs – it’s deliberate non-engagement strategy. Iain Dale, ConservativeHome and a couple of the younger ones are popular but where are the politicians, the people you’re expected to actually vote for? Hardly any are on Twitter and the ones that are there are just ‘lurking’.
So let's get this straight. David Cameron has told MPs not to blog or twitter. Rubbish. In the Tory Party it's left up to individuals to make their own decisions on this. It's true, I wish more of them did blog, but Kerry's obsession with Twitter is very odd. Yes, it can be useful and fun, but to pretend, as she implies, that is is a vital cog in any politician's armoury is stretching it a little.
Rather hilariously she wants to build on what Derek Draper started.
Derek did a lot of the preparatory work of getting some kind of infrastructure together that so many others have been able to utilise. I want to grow that infrastructure, help grow the awareness of best practice amongst my political colleagues and have a mature approach to working with Party members who are active online. I'm much less keen on picking fights in the blogosphere!
Well thank the Lord for that. Normal political banter aside, I wish her well in her position. It's important that all the parties make progress in their internet operations. My only bit of advice to her is that she should avoid what she mistakenly accuses the Conservatives of - and trying to organise things centrally. Parties can be facilitators on the internet, but they cannot control it. It's a lesson the Labour Party ought to have learned through its experience with Derek Draper.
UPDATE: Kerry has tweeted this...
Don't think @iaindale 'gets' Twitter http://tinyurl.com/kndy37 - it's better than blogging because on twitter everyone is equal.
Hmmmm. I don't get Twitter, eh? 5,400 followers say she's wrong. How many has she got? 1,900. It's not better than blogging at all - tens of thousands read my blogposts, while only some of my 5,400 will read my tweets. How on earth she reckons Twitter is more "equal" is beyond me, but it is typical for that to be the yardstick by which a Labour politician judges something, I suppose.