I can understand Ed Miliband’s motivation with his almost monthly twitter surgeries – #AskEdM. He thinks it’s an innovative way to communicate with the masses, look accountable and engage with young voters – or I’ll bet you my house that’s what the briefing he was given about it says.
Problem is none of that is true.
Ed Miliband is seen as a point of ridicule, even by his own side. He’s the last boy to be picked for a football match with all of the charisma, savvy and charm of a Madam Tussaud’s wax doll and every time he’s strapped himself to a keyboard he’s been met with a torrent of silly questions which do nothing to diminish his reputation for media gaffes.
Far from being a platform Miliband and his team can control, twitter’s open medium of communication is a great opportunity to hijack the event for his opponents – from the politically damaging “Dear @
EdMiliband do you support @johnprescott when he mocks someone for having a speech impediment” , the sublimely silly“What is the average airspeed of an unladen swallow?” to the biting “Do you feel bad about stabbing your brother in the back?”
The result is, of course, that 95% of those who see the AskEdM hashtag see negative stories about Ed or Labour or stinging satire mocking Ed or Labour and not the 6 or 7 answers he answers when he actually gets round to answering the, er, 6 or 7 questions which are actually serious.
So why does he persist in launching these sessions time and again? Does he honestly think this is not reinforcing the perception that he’s a bit of a clown? Have Labour really forgotten that the first rule of messaging is being in control of the medium? Does he think he can outlast the internet’s willingness to mock him?
I think the answer to all of those questions might be yes. More fool him, mind. Theres better ways to get your message out there – either change the format, or scrap the asking, else the next time will be no less pointless than the last. Lets face it, does it actually matter what he thinks? Its not like he can do anything about it anyway…
Or you know, keep doing what you’re doing – us bloggers have to have something to write about…