They say all politics is native. In Canterbury, one of many tightest marginals within the nation, it is digital too.
Rosie Duffield received the constituency for Labour in 2017 by simply 187 votes. To defend her seat, she’s doing her greatest to unfold her message on-line.
When we visited on Tuesday, she was at Canterbury hospital with shadow well being minister Jon Ashworth.
The pair did an interview with native media, then filmed a brief, impromptu video message for Ms Duffield’s Facebook web page.
With Labour trailing within the nationwide polls, what was her digital technique?
“My team have done the odd advert,” she stated.
“I believe they know who’s it and who’s not. I do not get entangled with that facet of issues that a lot!
“It’s probably really useful. I’m sure social media is a really key thing in this election,” she stated.
Ms Duffield’s hopeful amateurism is in sharp distinction to the Tory operation in Canterbury, which is, fairly actually, skilled.
The Conservative candidate Anna Firth has employed company Westminster Digital to run her social media.
From their workplace in Westminster, the small workforce of entrepreneurial 20-somethings produce polished movies designed to promote Ms Firth to the citizens.
In what they name the “introduction”, Ms Firth, an funding banker, was filmed at dwelling with her canine speaking about her desires and household background.
Next got here movies on native points – as an example, on congestion in town’s infamous clogged roundabout – which Westminster Digital goal at particular audiences utilizing Facebook’s promoting instruments.
“We target it at people who care,” stated Tom Dixon, the company’s managing director.
“So people near that roundabout might get an extra push, because they care. The traffic is annoying them.”
Westminster Digital is working with as many as 50 would-be Conservative MPs, together with Steve Baker, Theresa Villiers, Mark Francois, Alan Mak, Penny Mordant, Chris Loder and Johnny Mercer.
I requested the company’s founder, Craig Dillon, if he can win somebody a seat.
“Absolutely,” he stated. “This is the way in which to attain folks.
“For instance, in case you take a look at Canterbury, lots of people when [Anna Firth] goes to meet them, they are saying, ‘Oh, you’ve got bought the canine, you are the girl with the 2 canine! Beautiful canine.’ Because we have put these movies out.”
Of course, in each politics and social media, nothing is ever assured.
In Canterbury, the 2 chaotic worlds have merged, thanks to the town’s full of life 36,000-member residents’ group, which performed a important function within the 2017 election.
“It was a hive of activity,” stated native businessman Edd Withers, who runs the group.
“It was a bit of a surprise just how much it became a political battleground.”
Two years on, little had modified.
On the Friday earlier than the election, Mr Withers hosted Andrew Neil-esque Facebook Live interviews with the primary candidates, beginning with outsider Liberal Democrat candidate Claire Malcomson.
Even in a time of heightened political curiosity, it appeared unlikely to be a success. Would anybody really tune in?
Mr Withers was assured they’d.
“This election is all boiling down to social media,” he stated.
“People are spending hours and hours reading the thoughts and opinions of their neighbours on social media – and it will influence the election.”
The candidates in Canterbury are: Rosie Duffield, Labour; Anna Firth, Conservative; Claire Malcomson, Liberal Democrat; Michael Gould, impartial.
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