Sunday it was election day here in Trentino. Since Trentino is an autonomous region in Italy, local elections have a much larger impact on the region than national politics. Luckily enough, Lorenzo Dellai won with a large percentage and he will be once more the president of the province. Before the election day, there was the fear of having even here in Trentino a success of Lega Nord, a racist and obscurantist right-wing party.
I’m very happy Lega Nord didn’t win and I believe Dellai and its coalition (left-centre) will keep making Trentino an happy island in the context of Italy, but what interests me the most is the use Dellai made of Internet and Web2.0 phenomena for his campaign.
The tools used by Dellai:
- WordPress Blog on WordPress.com http://lorenzodellai.wordpress.com/
- Twitter Heavy twittering http://twitter.com/lorenzodellai (it was extremely interesting to read a twitter around every 30 minutes during the campaign: these short messages can give you an idea of what Dellai was doing such as “appena arrivato in ufficio 10:35 PM Nov 6th“, “ritorno in città per l’incontro con il circolo anziani 5:35 AM Nov 5th“, “vado all’incontro sul tema della scuola nella sede di Teatrincorso Spazio 14 in via Vannetti 8:10 AM Nov 3rd”, “Lunga e amichevole telefonata con il collega Luis Durnwalder.”, … Once I read that he was going to meet some people in Piazza Duomo and I had the temptation to go in Piazza Duomo to check if this was true, a strange feeling I must admit
- Facebook Facebook www.facebook.com/people/Lorenzo_Dellai/: at the moment Dellai facebook profile has 997 friends. Many of them requested the friendship after the success (in Italy we say “saltare sul carro dei vincitori” (jump on the winners’ bandwagon)) which is interesting as well. While most of the Web2.0 tools were used more as a direct but online communication channel, with Facebook, Dellai tried also to move the online networking to offline discussions. In fact, he organized an real-world aperitif in a bar of Trento. See the Dellai Facebook Aperitif page. This event had 95 confirmed guests and around 80 people (very young on average) shown up in the bar.
- Youtube Youtube channel http://www.youtube.com/user/lorenzodellai
- Flickr Flickr profile http://www.flickr.com/photos/28475218@N02/ and he even asked to Flickers the permission to report their photos of course respecting their copyright. In the message he even wrote the word “watermarking” which sparked some discussions about the fact Dellai would really know what watermarking is, which is in my opinion very unlikely.
- Netvibes and more Even a netvibes page http://www.netvibes.com/lorenzodellai!!! Very Mashuppy!!! A Mashup of all the other tools basically. With for example a public todolist (with done things checked as he was doing them ) and even dopplr (http://www.dopplr.com/traveller/lorenzodellai)!!! And Skype, and google talk, and gmail, and liveblogging events with scribblelive, …
Well, besides this impressive list of Web2.0 tools in use, there are at least 2 interesting points I would like to briefly examine.
First, is this an example of politics becoming more transparent? I guess the real question should be: “will Dellai keep twittering/facebooking/blogging/… that heavily now that he is elected and, in this way, give to (tech-savvy) citizens a way to follow what he does daily and maybe even contribute with comments and suggestions? If yes, to which level will he dare to push this? Only messages about what he did or posts about strategic decisions even before they are already made?
Of course maintaining such a structure requires lots of resources, both in term of time (his time and his collaborators time) and money (people working on this aspect mainly since most of the tools used are free to use for now).
That’s something I’m terribly curious to see how it develops. In the message in his blog after his election, there is a Youtube video in which he states he will keep experimenting with the network (“Adesso la campagna elettorale si e’ chiusa pero’ (…) per me non si chiude l’esperienza della mia presenza nella rete.” and even “abbiamo bisogno della vostra amicizia (little esitation) su facebook”). But I think a twitter every 30 minutes is something he is not going to keep and this is a pity.
And the second key point is: is it possible to scientifically measure the impact of this approach, of this use of Web2.0 tools on the outcomes of the electoral competition? The more general question would be: can we identify numeric indicators of success? Are there around experiences in this sense? Research labs on Politics2.0 and its quantification? I guess that the are a lot of people working on the campaign of Obama so there might be some work already published (in papers or blogs). Are you aware of any of these?
The effects should be both on the number of votes collected by online tools, their general impact on the aura of the candidate, the changing relationship of the candidate with traditional media (newspapers, tv), …
Anybody trying to foreseen how big will be the impact of such strategies in the next elections (let’s say in 5 years)?
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