What proportion of the Uk population do you think read blogs? According to a new poll conducted for Edelman, and reported in Public Affairs News, it's about a quarter. Out of 1,007 random UK adults polled, 262 said they read blogs. I must admit, I find that statistic unbelievable. I'd have though it was under 10%. In the same poll, 38% said they had signed a petition within the last 12 months and 18% had attended a local meeting on local issues. The poll was used by Edelman to demonstrate that lobbyists should make more use out of internet campaigning.
This morning I chaired a session at the Public Affairs News conference and was both amazed and appalled by how little importance the two speakers in my session, and indeed many of the audience, gave to using the internet to persuade opinion formers. The same was true in a session last week with I did with Lynne Featherstone at an NCVO conference. For voluntary organisations and charities, the internet ought to be manna from heaven - it's more or less free and it's used by everyone. For those without large budgets to spend on public affairs blogs, Facebook and the like and a great way of spreading the message. Yet all we heard were bleats about the time it takes to blog and the difficulty in measuring success. Very disappointing.
Just as the internet can help candidates and politicians to get their message across, it can do the same for companies, interest groups and charities.