Social media tools helping political efforts: how effective?

“There’s a lot of Tweeting, but there’s not much engagement,” Alex Aitken, director of communications at Westminster City Council told panel debate audiences at Social Media World Forum. Politicians are using social media as an extra communications tool, rather than a means of engagement with the electorate, he adds.
Fellow panelist Craig Elder, the Conservatives’ online communications editor, agrees: “Politicians are having a massive conversation between themselves. It’s just a broadcast exercise I’m happy for the blame for this to be shared across all three parties – it’s old politics on new media. It’s just a broadcast exercise I’m happy for the blame for this to be shared across all three parties – it’s old politics on new media.” It won’t be until 2014 election that politics will open up to social media, Elder avers.
Another problem is the additional workload that staying abreast of the demands social media engagement makes is another issue, argues Kerry McCarthy, Labour MP for Bristol East, serial blogger, and the party’s New Media Communications spokesperson, and she has a point that’s too often ignored in the let’s-all-go-socmed! brouhaha: the most prolific bloggers and Tweeters don’t have anything else to do; or rather, blogging and Tweeting is what they do. For the rest of us it can represent an onerous addition to the workload.
In respect to this the real question – for politicians and anyone else – is ‘What has to stop in order to embrace socmed fully?’ What should be jettisoned from the daily schedule in order to make room for socmed? Your suggestions please…

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