A month ago I wrote a piece on this blog about Derek Draper and how unsuited I thought he was to lead Labour’s social media campaigns. I pointed out that he had recently been suspended from the social network de jour – ‘twitter’.
Little did I know what I had unleashed. Derek blogged about me using false quotes and misrepresenting my recently published book. He e-mailed me stating “your legal threats are pathetic, i can – and will – pour a bucket of shit over anyone’s head who has tried to do the same to me” (sic). He later the same day emailed many of my colleagues and others in the PR industry with links to his “satirical” blog post.
This was very small beer in comparison to what was in the pipeline for the proposed ‘Red Rag’ site. Derek Draper and Damian McBride are of the old school ‘command and control’ approach to political media management. They just don’t get the openness that the social web brings with it. If you deceive or intimidate there is every chance that it will be made public. The Guido Fawkes Order Order blog that they appear to want to emulate is anti-government and you just can’t replicate that if you represent the government.
Also of the old school is Tom Watson, the Cabinet Office Minister with overall responsibility for ‘digital engagement’. The debate rages still as to whether he knew about ‘Red Rag’ but if it had reached the stage where content suggestions were being made by one of his charges then he should have. The point is quite simple; like Draper and McBride he doesn’t understand the implications for open and transparent politics that come with citizen media. If you don’t get it, you can’t run it.