McBride & Draper: New Media, Old School

14 04 2009

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.





Labour Draper is at it Again

11 03 2009

Derek Draper has recently returned to the Labour fold to champion their social media offensive after many years of absence.  He is a  spin doctor of the old school who seems incapable of ditching the smoke and mirrors.  He has been building a following  on twitter but his account was suspended yesterday as a result of unusual activity, which usually means you have been breaking twitter rules in terms of the number of people that you are trying to follow. In effect spamming.

He however appears to be suggesting that it didn’t happen, and points the finger at political bloggers Ian Dale and Guido “they are saying that my account is supended, which it isn’t.”  Well it may not be now but it was.  Now that he is back in twitter fold it would be interesting to see how many people the spinmeister is following who are not following him back.  What would be a reasonable figure, 20, 50, 100 or even 500? As of this moment @DerekDraper is following 1551 who are not following him. Smells of spam to me. What all politicos need to realise when they are operating in the social web is that it is all in public.  Put away the mirrors and spare us the smoke.





The Tangled Web of Political PR

18 01 2009

s_spider-2Political parties around the world are tracing the steps of Barack Obama into the world of social media.  Few more so than the Labour Party in the UK.

The Labour Party is currently Beta testing a site called Labourlist.Org a quasi official Labour blog ‘Where Labour minded people come together’.

This is just the first element in a campaign plan that will have an ‘Obama-style virtual phone bank for Labour campaigners’, ministers appearing on forums, viral campaigns and a Labour Party HQ blog.  

Spearheading the initiative is erstwhile Mandelson acolyte and strategist (now turned psychotherapist) Derek Draper.  Draper is best known for the ‘Lobbygate’ scandal of 1998 when he allegedly offered ‘cash for access’ to leading Labour politicians.  The new Labour initiative demonstrates a very savvy approach to social media but in the tangled web of politics it appears that the black arts may still be at work.   I’m sure Derek Draper will one day embrace the Californian style openness of the social web but on Friday he was using his Twitter stream to direct people to the bogus Twitter of  ‘David_Camera_on’. 

Mr Draper had done well to spot this bogus Twitter as it only had three followers at the time – one was the official ‘Downing Street’ Twitter, presumably no stranger to the social web policy of the party and another was Greg Jackson who runs Tangent One, the company that built the site for Labour List.  So how would Draper and two Labour social media insiders know about it so quickly? Weird that.








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