Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Our friends electric

Yesterday, I found out that Gordon Brown was stepping down as Labour Leader via Twitter. The same social medium informed me that West Ham had sacked Franco Zola as their manager this morning, while a business acquaintance informed me we'd both been at Wembley Stadium this day 25 years ago to see Wealdstone grab the non-league double by winning the FA Trophy.

I've worked for much of the last five days with the BBC News website in the background, spending almost as much time working out the permutations of the UK's next Government as I have on finessing a wireframe on a new corporate website, finalising a training module I'm due to deliver, or even assessing the impact of the changes that appear to be happening inside one of my clients - a firm that was swallowed up by a bigger player at the end of last year.

While I might have cause to worry about the impact of that change (I note the MD left a couple of weeks ago), I'm not on the inside, so any change in the way they run their comms will happen to me - not with me. Change may be afoot,but I can't influence it and will have to wait and see what comes out the other side.

And, for all the 24-hour wall-to-wall media coverage, I'm feeling ever-more disenfranchised by the Machiavellian intrigue that is UK politics at the moment. The election and its immediate fallout were fascinating to follow via twitter and the political blogs. At first it felt as though we, the electorate, were actually having an impact. But over the last few days I've begun to feel ever more like the outsider looking in. For all that we seem hard-wired to the action, the politicians have defaulted to what they always do: backroom discussions leading to politically expedient deals that favour those on the inside - very possibly at the expense of the so-called 'good of the nation'.

Social media may have made us a more immediately connected and critical audience - but that's what we remain: an audience outside the action. Democracy may have set the change train rolling, but it will be a political oligarchy that charts the direction for this country once again in the coming months - with every danger that our PM may once again be anointed without the mandate of the people.

Fascinating, though somewhat disturbing times.

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