From @Downing Street to @alaa

Some of the most prominent Web 2.0 platforms in foreign politics are embraced by politicians in UK like @Downing Street on Twitter and Show Us a Better Way. But as our class revealed last Monday, digital campaigns overseas have not taken off as in U.S.

 The Prime Minister’s Office in UK has almost 4,000 followers on Twitter. During Obama’s visit in Downing Street 10, the office updated the profile feverishly and facilitated a conversation:


@plasmaegg No problem. Thanks to everyone who’s followed us today. Here’s the last image: 12:45 PM July 26, 2008 from web in reply to plasmaegg


Not Much about Elections Overseas

Searching our class’ feed, I did not find any links to digital campaigns tagged as overseas. I did find two posts tagged international but they were not relevant in this case. UK and U.S. are the only countries in the tagcloud. One post was tagged UK, linking to the UK Parliament’s YouTube Channel. It is a pilot project. This feed is informational and tend to be conversational by interviewing typical constituents. But the conversation has not really started yet:




I am looking forward to see where the UK Parliament will take it. Will it feed one-way press briefings or engage in a two-way-conversation?


From my own little world, I experience huge interest of the American experience on digital campaigns. I know of 3 different groups coming from Copenhagen in the fall to learn more about microtargeting, fundraising, and political blogging.


Who Reports Gets to Write History

Garrett Graff mentioned again in his lecture China’s firewall, Al Qaeda’s extensive use of YouTube, and Alaa’s twittering to stay alive as examples of Web 2.0 platforms overseas. It reminds me again that free speech is not given all over the world, and who reports gets to write history. Social media can be a tool for expression in countries with no or limited free speech. It can also be a tool to broaden the political conversation and collaboration in democracies for local, regional, and national governments (more is coming on this point).


The Global Power of Social Media




This picture shows that the world is not flat – as Charline & Bernof state in Groundswell (p.49). It is the same desire to connect, create, and stay in touch – but it is not the same platforms that people use around the world.  Facebook and MySpace are popular SNS in America, Orkut in Brazil and India, and hi5 in Austria, Mongolia, and Portugal. Furthermore, participation differs as well. In Groundswell, participation is divided into six categories: Creators, Critics, Collectors, Joiners, Sepctators, or Inactives.


According to Groundswell (research by Forrester Research), Asians have in general adopted social media much more than Americans or Europeans. For illustrating, I have gathered the numbers that they mention in the book in the following table which is important for planning marketing, advocacy or political campaigns in different countries. (You can more numbers here).


Social Technographic Profiles Around the World






Blog, upload self made videos, music etc.

18 %


38 % (South Korea)


Post ratings/reviews, comment on other’s blogs, contribute to online forums, contribute to wikis



36% (Japan)


Use RSS, add tags to web pages or photos



18% China

14% South Korea

6% (Japan)


Maintain a profile on a SNS, visit SNS



40% (South Korea)


Read blogs, watch video from other users, listen to podcasts, read online forums, read customer ratings/reviews



33% (Japan and China)


Do not participate in these activities



37% (South Korea)

(Charlene & Bernof, 2008, p. 43-45). Data from Forrester Research Technographics® surveys, 2007. For further details on the Social Technographics profile, see

NOTE: the percentage is of the online adult population!


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