social media in westminster
I joined an interesting social media experiment in Westminster this last week. An MP named Steve Webb is championing a change to the UK Climate Change Bill to cut carbon emissions in the UK by 80% by 2050 (the current proposal is 60%).
To try to get the word out, he held a meeting at his House of Commons office with 10 green bloggers to see how blogging and social media could help. John Grant, who wrote the Green Marketing Manifesto, invited me along, since a lot of my cartoons and blog touch on sustainability stuff.
I think it’s facinating to shift gears from thinking about social media as a way to build brands to social media as a way to drive policy. I thought I could learn a bit.
We bandied about a number of ideas, and hit on an interesting campaign idea called "Canvass Your MP" (a role reversal from politicians "canvassing you" when they go door-to-door). Our aim is to mobilize people to actually show up to the MP’s office for a face-to-face conversation (rather than an impersonal postcard or petition). British MPs usually hold open-office time called "surgeries", but it’s often not easy to find out when or where. So, this would involve a central site that makes it easy, and shows which MPs to target.
Just as we parted ways, the House of Commons scheduled the debate to start this Monday (weeks earlier than we thought). Nothing like a sense a urgency and common purpose to pull an idea together. Within just a few days, the idea crystalized, people volunteered to pull information on MPs, and someone even volunteered to build a web site that actually launches tomorrow: canvassyourmp.com.
Steve Webb plans to announce the "Canvass your MP" idea in the House of Commons tomorrow, and there are a lot of feelers out to drive the word across different blogs. Kind of cool. I’m finishing up a cartoon or two to donate to the cause. It will be interesting to see how this idea spreads.