New technology escapes MPs

MPs still haven't got to grips with social networking says report
MPs still haven't got to grips with social networking says report

MPs are failing to properly utilise new technologies to communicate with their constituents, according to a report out today.

The report by the Hansard Society said MPs were using technology to inform people rather than engage with them, citing the fact only 11 per cent of MPs have a blog and many of those have no facility to add comments.

While 83 per cent of those polled did have a personal website only 23 per cent said they used social networking sites such as Facebook or MySpace.

The report concluded that while MPs have managed to embrace new informative technologies, those which offer a two-way dialogue and allow constituents to interact with their MP were far less popular.

Andy Williamson, director of the eDemocracy programme at the Hansard Society and author of the report, said: "MPs are transmitting and not receiving.

"They use the internet as a tool for campaigning and for organising their supporters, rather than opening up two-way communication with constituents.

"The use of the internet for direct political engagement still remains a largely untapped area and, on the whole, one that is not well understood by MPs."

The report, commissioned by Microsoft, will do nothing to help dismiss regional and generational stereotypes.

It found that London MPs are the highest users of social networking sites, while the lowest were those from Wales and the Midlands.

MPs born after 1960 were found to be the highest users too, with those born before 1940 the lowest. And while 40 per cent of those elected in or after 2005 used social networking tools, just 5 per cent of those elected in or before 1986 did.


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