Labour and Tory Plans To Spin The Web

The Labour and Conservative party will use Twitter and Google during the final television debate tonight to try and spin the online conversation in the desired direction.

As with the other elections Labour plans to feature 140 character tweets from MPs and candidates on its own homepage during the BBC discussion. The idea is that this will give supporters a chance to rebuttal any attacks on Brown in real time on the political parties home page.

The Conservatives however have chosen not to run a similar scheme on their website, saying that it would only create an "echo chamber."

Labour strategist Mark Hanson stated: "Twitter can be overwhelming at times like this, with over 200,000 tweets during the debate last week. Our dashboard is aimed at helping our supporters to navigate through what is being said."

The Conservatives are taking a very different approach. They are largely focusing on buying Google search advertisements, to capture traffic from viewers looking online for more details of the policies being discussed on TV. The party plans to buy new search terms on Google's AdWords system during the debate based on what questions are asked.

Labour has said that it also plans to use Google, but lacks the budget to match the Tories' investment. They have said that it would not be scripting complete tweets, but providing facts and suggestions to supporters. Some observers, though, said the resulting comments may not always ring true.

Alberto Nardelli, co-founder of Tweetminster stated: "There is value in having a co-ordinated approach, yet at the same time it all risks coming across as manufactured and not authentic if lines are pre-cooked before the debate itself"

He continued, "The majority of people on Twitter will make their minds up by themselves and their collective voice will probably have a bigger impact than the spin in 'calling' the debate."

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