Harringay online

Harringay, Haringey - So Good they Spelt it Twice!

This Tuesday some names in journalism led a debate at the City University on whether the forthcoming general election is about to be the UK's first where new media will play a significant role.

Taking that down to a local level, I'm interested in the extent to which new media will affect the coming London local elections.

We'll be doing our bit here on Harringay Online, trying to make sure we get as much contribution as possible online from our local candidates. Whether residents have an appetite for it remains to be seen.

But what about the candidates? Which of them from the three wards that are wholly or partly in Harringay, are using new media? To answer that, we've developed a New Media Quotient (NMQ) measurement for both parties and politicians.

The NMQ measures the scope and depth of each candidate's use of new media. (To avoid any potential for political bias, we're not measuring quality of contribution).

Here's how things stand as of today:


Top 5 Candidates
Justin Hinchcliffe (Con, Seven Sisters) - 50
Nora Mulready (Lab, Harringay) - 40
David Schmitz (Lib Dem, Harringay) - 23
Tim Caines (Con, Harringay) - 19
Karen Alexander (Lib Dem, Harringay) - 17

Top Party in a Ward
Harringay Ward Labour + Liberal Democrats - 17

Top Party across the 3 Wards
Labour - 10


Top 5 Candidates
Justin Hinchcliffe (Con, Seven Sisters) - 100
Nora Mulready (Lab, Harringay) - 69
David Schmitz (Lib Dem, Harringay) - 69
Karen Alexander (Lib Dem, Harringay) - 62
Chris Ford (Lib Dem, Harringay) - 46

Top Party in a Ward
Harringay Ward Liberal Democrats - 59

Top Party across the 3 Wards
Labour - 28

So we have a good start in Harringay ward and an overall winner in Justin Hinchcliffe. but  the first term's report is definitely could do better.

What will mastering new media mean to the election outcome, I wonder. Can the smart candidate replicate something of the Obama effect?

If you'd like to see the details of the NMQ, see the attachments as either pdf (hyperlinks non-functional) or Excel.

Tags for Forum Posts: 2010 local election, 2010 local elections

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Added to HoL Twitter a new list of local candidate twitterers follow the list to keep up with what our local candidates are twittering.
Here's an example of what parties are doing in other wards.

Take Labour in Stoke Newington:

We Love Stoke Newington Blog
We Love Stokey Twitter Page

Ok, not very social media since they're primarily in broadcast mode, so we probably do much better when councillors are prepared to join a conversation on HoL, but an interesting, and nit atypical, example.
If the NMQ were to measure quality of contribution, top place by a mile would go outside these three wards to that HOLler & Flickerer of vision and perspicacity, Alan Stanton. No coincidence, then, that he shuns Twitter like the plague?

From somewhat nearer home, someone called Nora (Feb 19) "left phone at home today. ratzinger". Can she really have a hot line to the Vatican? But Joe Ratzinger won't be best pleased to read her take (four days later) on the "silly amendment" to the otherwise "brilliant sex education bill".

On Feb 13 our heroine had been up at dawn for a 6.10am tweet: "Out canvassing this morn. Knocked on every door in Harringay in the last year." (No, you bloody well haven't!) "As Lab candidate I want to meet every single voter." We haven't gone away, you know - but you haven't knocked very loudly on my door.
Short breather, quick coffee fix. Then a 6.13am tweet: "We will have knocked on every door in Harringay at least twice by May - introducing ourselves, sharing our ideas and hearing concerns." After such heartfelt and exhausting expression of intent the only thing to do at this ungodly hour is go back to bed.

And all day Thursday March 4: "Waiting for washing machine to arrive. What a way to spend an annual leave day!"

Does all this represent scope and depth? Stephen Fry is a much greater twit. And he ain't standing in Harringay, is he?

You're quite right Eddie. Mine is a crude measure. Were there but world enough and time I'd add in all sorts of "quality" factors. If anyone has the time and inclination, I'd be delighted to build them in.

So, quality is out for now. See it as a propensity to use new media. But, just as a plethora of poorly written leaflets or badly delivered speeches can do more harm than good, so can inept use of new media. But high levels of effective use, as shown by Alan, can have a very positive effect.

As for Alan, yup, he'd be way out in the lead. Actually his current HoL NMQ would likely still have him in 1st place.......... if he was a candidate in one of our wards. He ain't so he's not in the race. However, our colleagues in St Ann's will be able to vote for his partner Zena.

Oscar Wilde would have loved it as would Samuel Johnson. People use it for all sorts including witty one liners and recording the minute details of their day. Twitter is a microblog and a conversation. Don't knock Twitter OAE until you've tried it! Sometimes there's quality in brevity.
Twitter: trivialising?

(Brevity & Quality)

Sorry, didn't crawl out at 6.10am to respond. You're right, Liz, it ain't Twitter technology needs a good beating but use thereof. As for Oscar - that inveterate preener, polisher, rehearser and recycler of off-the-cuff spontaneity - yes, with Twitter he'd have been in his element. Swift would have given it a swift dismissal as "where all that passes inter nos / might be proclaimed at Charing Cross".
Oh dear, sweet Jesus, how unhappy your life must be, OAE, to spend it filling the web with your bitter ramblings. Labour in Harringay have knocked on every single door in the ward - I know because I did a fair few of them myself. Obviously, lots of people weren't in and that's unfortunate; we do always try to leave an "outcard" which asks people to pass on any concerns they have to the local party's freepost address (which you can find on all the Labour literature you recieve). Obviously, we aim to talk to everyone and try as hard as possible to make that happen, but there will always be people who face-to-face door knocking misses but we have collectively met a huge number of the voters in Harringay and spoken to them about their concerns; those concerns have been dealt with by a team of candidates who have enormous experience of dealing with casework (Nora is the local MP's caseworker as well as working hard in the ward, Gina is a councillor of 10 years' experience who runs a regular and busy surgery, and Jon has been assisting her with the surgery for years).

More than that, Nora's Twitter feed is both political and personal - some of it might be profound, some of it might be irrelevant, some of it might be just to update people in her life on the fact she has no phone.

Frankly, if you want more politicians to come and talk to you online, you should try being a bit bloody nicer - the deluge of comments on this site, led by you amongst others, which implies that all politicians are ungodly abominations deserving of nothing but ridicule and spite is one of the major reasons that those members of the local Labour Party who, alongside arguing for better representation generally, have consistently argued for sensible enagagement with HoL are moving away from the site, and can no longer summon either the energy or enthusiasm to make the case for this form of "new media". It is especially sad that those who moderate this site, who have personal experience of how hard Nora has worked for this ward (on HMO issues not least of all), allow this kind of malicious and entirely fatuous carping to occur, without ever putting in a good word.

I am perfectly prepared to defend my political ideas, and to defend those members of my party who have fought long and hard and against the bitter odds of deprivation and national government indifference for a better Haringey, but I and other sensible people are not going to do it when all that comes back is crass, ignorant abuse from people who have arrogantly and wrongly claimed for themselves the mantle of "representative of the area". I reckon I have spoken to a damn site more people in Harringay about what they want and need than you have, OAE, and I can guarantee you that Labour as a whole has engaged with more voters than you'll even meet before May about what Labour should be offering Harringay. Nora has done more for the people of this ward than your inchoate rage will ever achieve.

I and other Labour members didn't join this site because we were members of a local political party - I joined it because I live here, and I wanted to read and be part of discussions about how to make our community better. The same reason, in fact, that I joined the Labour Party. I certainly didn't come on here to read invidious abuse about my partner (not her political acts, nor even her political beliefs, just the words she'd used on a informal website feed) from someone whose own contribution to improving Harringay seems to consist entirely of self-satisfiedly preening about his own distate for local politics.

Like other Labour members before me, Hugh, I'm out and off HoL. As a friend of mine said, there is dignity in political representation. And frankly, there's no dignity in OAE or your failure to defend against his bile a person who you personally know to have done a huge amount of work for the local area over the past three years.
John, I have one interest and one interest only in promoting the covering of this election on Harringay Online. That is to try to promote a much more informed and open debate about the issues affecting Harringay so that as a community we elect the best possible representatives and establish the best possible basis for creating positive change.

To best use HoL in that capacity I believe we need four things:

- participation from residents and candidates
- political neutrality from the site
- absence of personal sleights in political discussions
- honesty

I wouldn't be investing my time in this election if I didn't think it very important. I have a respect for the political process and that includes for the role of local politician. I have knocked politicians in the past (though Nora is not amongst that group), but never the role of politician.

If we're going to have political debate, things will be said that cause disagreement. Inaccuracies may be contributed. I don't think either of those things are particularly new to political debate and certainly not at all unique to HoL.

I hope we can have some good discussions. When things are written that are wrong, we welcome them being corrected, just as they would be corrected if written in the press, or said on TV or radio or in live debate. There's nothing unusual about the nature of debate on HoL.

I'm sorry that you see my not jumping to Nora's defence as a failure. Firstly I didn't see what Eddie said as a personal sleight since it was a comment on what she did or didn't do as a candidate. So there was no reason for me to intervene on that basis. Secondly, there are many views expressed on HoL I don't agree with. It's not possible for me to be adding my construct on the truth each time I come across something I don't agree with. Finally, I felt that Nora would wish to correct any inaccuracy herself.

However, if it helps, I'm delighted to confirm that Nora has called at my door. I also had a joint visit from David Schmitz and Chris Ford. I am aware that Nora is one of the candidates who has put in some great work over the past few years. HoL is available for all candidates to tell us about what they've been doing.

I do want to try and ensure a constructive use for HoL during this period, John. The site was set up and is run to try and help improve the area. My assumption is that this is what people standing for local office also want to do. We've had a number of meetings with the HoL group to try and ensure that the site is effectively used during the elections. We a taking it and our responsibility seriously.

Open discussion must be better than shutting down channels of comunication. Please do come back to me and make suggestions about how we can manage things most effectively over the next couple of months.
Although I have reservations about Twitter, they don't apply to a community website like HoL.

I think HoL performs a useful function at all times, but no more so than in the run-up to an election. The hosting of parties' scanned election leaflets allows for an easy exercise in compare-and-contrast. Not just within Harringay Ward, but between what is being said within Harringay Ward (i.e. tailored for Harringay Ward) and what is being said and done in other Wards.

Most of us know that political parties can shape-shift their messages for particular areas. One of the benefits of having a central repository of messages (as HoL does), means that it is easy to spot hypocrisy inconsistency. This is valuable in a society that values free speech.

John: do you think you might be overreacting to a single post? HoL has nearly 2,500 members. Some of us are known to use sarcasm. Only about 1% are active and 0.1% attempt wit.

Hugh: do you see Twitter as just a passing fad, or do you think it represents lasting shallowness?

A tool is only as shallow or deep as he/she who wields it Clive. I've become an infrequent user, but that's not because it's not useful; it's just a matter of time/laziness.

Read the wrong newspaper, you're unlikely to learn much. The same applies with Twitter. Pick who you read.

I spent 10 mins on Twitter today and, because I follow some folks who tweet useful stuff, learned three very useful bits of info. For example, a client had mentioned a new service launched recently. I tried googling it last week and came up with nothing. Today, I noticed a link to it on the Twitter stream of a foundation in the same line of work. As a result, I'm now better prepped for my meeting next week. See Twitter as a virtual water-cooler. If I was office-based, I'd likely have picked up that info from a water cooler moment. Twitter offers the opportunity for a thousand water cooler moments. Fade out the dross, tune in to the voices you want to hear and I promise you, you'll suddenly understand why people get value from it.

As long as Twitter offers real value, those who benefit will continue to ignore those who sneer and derive benefit from it or something like it.
OK it 'qualifies' as new media and I accept that in some circumstances it could be useful.

On the whole, the media channel of broadsheet newspapers is useful. But I do wonder how much tweeting on the whole is dissemination of the banal. I'd reckon I'd try the patience of close friends if I told the world I was waiting for a delivery of white goods.

It's about the noise-to-signal ratio. How much time does it take to fade out the noise, or dross, and get a good signal?

It's a tool that's limited, is it not, to 140 characters at any one time?

Your interesting post about Twitter, if reproduced on Twitter, would not have made it as far as the end of your second line and nearly 90% of your thoughts would have fallen off. Just as well you mainly use the more capacious HoL, eh Hugh?




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