Wednesday, 18 July 2007

Pressing the Online Flesh – MySpace Impact

MySpace recently launched its MySpace Impact channel for politicians and non-profit organizations. It is a space where politicians, political and social organizations can list their official myspace pages.

Compared to places like USA and the UK, Australian politicians have been fairly slow to utilize social media (take a look at Hilary Clinton’s myspace or Barak Obama’s myspace as great examples). And it seems in this case, the Aussie Pollies have been dragged online – kicking and screaming. An interesting note – Labor MPs currently outnumber Liberal MP’s by 2 to 1 on myspace. And John Howard, the Prime Minister, has refused to signup. At last count, only 28 individual federal political candidates for the upcoming election now have official MySpace pages.

Ask any politicians what the value of a personal handshake is? There is a reason why politicians in this day and age still hit the pavement in their local electorates and go door-knocking. Social media enables politicians to make a form of personal contact with voters on a massive scale. In addition it also engages a particular segment of voters – Generation Y and builds on the perception of the politician as a real person, an authentic person and someone open to new ideas.

Check out the table below (that I plan to update every fortnight) regarding how well each of the politicians are utilising this space…

Liberal Party Candidates Total Friends: 616
Liberal Party Number of Myspace Candidates: 5
Labor Party Candidates Total Friends: 9617
Labor Party Number of Myspace Candidates: 10

Tuesday, 17 July 2007

Connex Trains to target cure for cancer

On the 26th of July Connex Trains, one of Melbourne's largest providers of public transport will be setting aside $1 from every train ticket sold for the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre in their fight against cancer. Its a worthy cause and great to see a company kicking some profits over to help out a non profit, but campaigns such as this always attract the question "is this due to social responsibility or is the company after some positive marketing spin?".

There is no doubt that Connex has had a lot of bad press in recent months so they could certainly use some positive attention but according to their website they are hoping to hand over just $50k to cancer research, a figure im sure is not too far off what it has cost them to put together the television advertising campaign, change the print on the tickets, etc. But them if Connex put out a press release saying "we just gave $50,000 to cancer research" would anyone notice?

The thing that I find strange is that according to this document, just one of the 16 lines that Connex runs, handles 60,000 passengers per day. With a few rough calculations (number of passengers for each line, minus the number of pre purchased tickets, etc) 50K sounds a little low.