The Australian Liberal party is relatively new to recognising FaceBook as a useful tool for getting the message out to Voters and the first steps have been fragile as they come to grips with the medium.
That newness is evident when you see how they use FB because they seem to be thinking it’s another form of a newspaper when in reality, it’s much more dynamic than that.
The traditional media that Tony came to power on the back of, lends itself nicely to simplistic 3 word chants. It also offers someone like Rupert the power to control the message by bombarding a point, be it real or imagined, and limiting the visibility of alternative viewpoints. Control over the Letters to the Editor pages is a good assist too. A nice manageable environment with relatively few surprises beyond a Pollie putting his foot in it.
But change is upon us and it’s not looking good for Tony.
FaceBook is a seriously different proposition because the message is beyond anyone’s ability to manage, and it’s shareable and able to be challenged. It’s persistent too and not only that, but when a pollie tries to gloss over things that Voters are angry about, the points can easily be teased out and hit with a spot light.
Here is a classic example. I have taken a recent post that originally appeared on their FB page but has been removed for obvious reasons. Unfortunately for the Liberal Party of Australia, some fans are still posting the original so the persistence of FB has worked beautifully in my favor. Nothing like blind, accepting Faith, to bring you undone.
I have helpfully removed the ticks with the reasons given below.
In traditional media you can get away with publishing unpopular moves high up in the text but it doesn’t work that way on FB. Each point can be teased out and challenged and suddenly silly claims are front and centre when the focus brings them in to view and you end up stuck with a proud claim sitting right beside it.
Let’s work down the list so we can see why it’s no longer on their home FB page.
- Line one was always going to be seriously risky and as it turned out, this was posted on the same day the bureau of Stats released a figure that showed the Unemployment level had just reached a 12 year high. But even without that bad luck, it should be obvious to the Party that unemployment is a dangerous area to play in when you are causing unemployment regardless of your reasoning. This sort of figure is not one you want to try and defend by claiming you have added a big jump in jobs by giving those jobs to foreigners via 457 visas. It tends to irritate the Voters especially if their kids are out of work.
- Line 2 is another that hasn’t been thought through. Taking away Australia’s only really effective serious reaction to Climate Change is already disappointing a lot of Voters. Confusing the Voters with your inner circle of campaign funders can impact the swinging voters. Sure, Gina will vote for you, but a hell of a lot of folk don’t worry about how far up the rich list she can climb, and they prefer folk like Gina to be helping the bottom line of the country rather than her own bank accounts.
- The first dot point that has an outside chance of being defended, but even here why are they so secretive about the actual process? It suggests that something illegal is actually happening and if it turns out that folk are still drowning out of view, then serious problems await Ministers who fall into the hands of the UN later in life.
- Free trade agreements with Japan, Korea and China. Probably the worst ticking time bomb of the lot and this could explode at any time. Secret deals start out looking harmless, but when greed kicks in, visibility follows, then the lawyers. The current one being negotiated with the US is going to explode in legal action as soon as the download data hits US movie copyright holders.
- Now a two part attempt. Firstly, combating terror. As does every Australian government regardless of party. You can’t seriously claim something that everyone does but perhaps this is an attempt to disguise the second part which is clearly wrong at worst, and deceptive if you are generous to the claim. The Federal AG George Brandis is actually a member of the Liberal party and it was his attempts to encourage hate speech in the first place trying to enact Bolt’s Law that started the ball rolling. This was actually a seriously failing of the Party that he even got this off the ground in the first place. Trying to claim this as a plus is going to irritate plenty. Especially with the Electorate already voicing displeasure over perceived outright lying.
- Budget repair underway. Ah. The miraculous disappearing Black Hole that Joe whips out every so often, then denies at the next meeting that requires a different message. The Black Hole is fading despite the inability to pass the “critical measures urgently required” and Labor will probably have a field day with Joe should he hold his job until the next election.
- Cutting $2B in Red tape. I’m sure they have but do you really want to advertise the fact that environmental concerns are being trashed to make way for dodgy deals with finance? What about the new Red Tape he has invented for those who lose their job, or the reintroduction of Red Tape for charities simply so George Pell can conceal Catholic Finances?
- $50B in infrastructure development. Quite possibly and sadly not enough is going into the substandard NBN but lets hope this figure is being used wisely. With the likes of Joe Hockey trying to manage the books, confidence is not high.
Overall it’s not been an encouraging start for the FB team and that’s leaving the poor effort at photo shopping the image of Tony and the kids out of the frame. That can be fixed with a more professional style whereas the content has been a major fail.
Tony can still run the mindless 3 word chants in the Media, but FB is not the place to bring that approach to. It leaves your fans exposed to a critical examination of those points, and you really need to preserve their cred if you want FB to help your campaign.