Tuesday, February 24, 2009

MPs Not Very Good At T'Internet Shocker

And in other news, bears have been found defecating in the woods. But seriously folks, there's a report published today by the Hansard Society and Microsoft, which shows that MPs are getting better and transmitting messages on the internet, but they're not so hot at receiving them. Online engagement is still pretty minimal. OK, I suppose we all knew it, but there's some interesting data to be mined in the report.

• 92% of MPs use email
• 83% of MPs have a personal website
• 23% of MPs use social networking
• 11% of MPs blog
• London MPs are highest users of social networking tools (43%); MPs from Wales and the Midlands are lowest users (20%)
• Younger MPs (born after 1960) are highest users (38%); Older MPs (born before1940) are lowest users (14%)
• MPs elected in or after 2005 are highest users (40%); MPs elected in or before 1986 are lowest users (5%)
• The marginality of a constituency has little affect until the MP’s majority exceeds 30% - when there is a sharp decline in adoption

Of the 11% who blog, many don't accept comments [yes, I can see you hiding at the back, Nadine!]. It would have been interesting to have had some sort of international comparisons in the report. I suspect that our MPs are quite a bit ahead of some of their European counterparts, believe it or not. Perhaps someone out there can prove me wrong.

To download the report click HERE.


Rayyan said...

How is a blog supposed to be anything other than a glorified bully pulpit if it doesn't allow its readers to comment? Also, surely the whole point of an MP blogging is to allow their constituents and others to interact with what they do and to hold them to account? Blogs, especially those by democratically elected public figures like MPs, should be more than just one-way communication.

KP said...

How can any MP not use email in this day and age? how do they function?

approx 38 MP's that is.

KP said...

according to the HOC website there are only 21 MP's who do not offer email as a means of communication

10 Tory MP's (all the ancient ones)
6 Labour (inc Chris Mullin and Margaret Beckett)
4 Sinn Fein

davidc said...

suprised margaret beckett doesn't have email - so useful for gardening tips

Unsworth said...

Isn't the whole point of a blog - political or otherwise - to enable exchanges of views? Otherwise a blog is merely a platform for the opinionated individual.

But then how many MPs actually want to hear what is being said and engage in genuine debate? Maybe you should set up a poll to see which MPs blogs are well regarded. Can't be more than five or six, I'd have thought.

Paul said...

Have you ever thought that perhaps most MPs don't actually want to talk to the people they're meant to serve? There be dragons and all that...

Anonymous said...

Well at least one connected Conservative is heading in the right direction - Co0ngratulations Karen!

Catosays said...

She's not my MP, but I've raised the question of comments with Nadine Dorries.

If comments aren't taken then there's very little point in the exercise.

Take note Nadine!!

Oldrightie said...

Their internet expertise rises exponentially when utilised to claim allowances!

Richard Havers said...

What tripe!

The idea that MPs are not very good at the internet because the majority don't do social networking or blog is boll**ks

janestheone said...

My MP here in France sends me emails like this:

Madame, Monsieur, Cher(e) Ami(e),

Je vous prie de bien vouloir trouver ci-joint ma Lettre d’information électronique n°7.

Bien cordialement,

Armand JUNG

Député du Bas-Rhin

with a pdf file attached with whatever he wants to tell me. In this case it was about Sunday trading (he is against it and wanted to tell me he had voted that way). However he does this because I am a member of his party. He has a website on which comments can be left, butit is not really interactive.

Enlightened Despot said...

The report's survey throws up three good points that the authors/sponsors do not answer:

MPs are concerned that they often do not know whether email correspondents are constituents as they do not want to encroach on another MP's patch. Letters do at least include a physical address

They commented that while the volume of written correspondence has not reduced, email traffic has shot up. Dealing with it inevitably involves a delay and MPs point out that people often expect immediate responses to emails. Microsoft is keen to encourage MPs to use Instant Messenger in order to communicate with 16-24s, but that medium is based on an even faster exchange of messages.

They also highlight data protection issues around onward transmission of emails that do not apply to letters.

I can see their point, although some mildly informative Twittering might engage a wider audience.

Iain Dale said...

Chris Mullin does indeed have a parliamentary email address.

Sixxstring90 said...

I prefer letters over emails any day, both writing and receiving them. They are so much more personal than email, and they are a record of friendship and relationships. And this is coming from an 18 year old in the most technically astute generation in history

KP said...


I based my comment on Chris mullin having no email on this link


which says that he dosent!

he should get that fixed if he does!

The Grim Reaper said...

The only MPs blog that I bother even reading properly is that of Tom Harris MP. Even this is partly because it's one of few Left-wing blogs that say something interesting - put Tom in charge of LabourList and the right-wing blogosphere will really have something to worry about! I'll also have a go at John Redwood's Diary if I want some really serious analysis on something.

When I read Kerry McCarthy's blog, she claimed the reason that Nadine Dorries doesn't take comments is because she used to get extremely vile and abusive messages left for her - possibly to do with her views on abortion? I don't know whether that's true, but I wouldn't be surprised if it was.

The Grim Reaper said...

Been doing a bit of digging. According to Bloggerheads, (I know, I know...) Nadine Dorries posted a blog entry in November 2007 saying she wouldn't accept comments any longer. The reason? "It's a time thing, I don't have any. I have to rely on the patience of others to read and post the comments for me. I am never in front of a computer for more than a couple of minutes at a time and this has now made reading the comments before they are posted impossible."

Absolutely pathetic, really.

Simon Gardner said...

“Of the 11% who blog, many don't accept comments [yes, I can see you hiding at the back, Nadine!].”

If Nadine Dorries allowed comments she’d get a constant torrent of pretty vitriolic ones. Perhaps she’s wisest not to [spit].