By Ian Dunt
The Conservatives are streaks ahead of other political parties in terms of their internet presence, a new report has found.
A new report found one fifth (19 per cent) of political bloggers aligned with the party, compared to 16 per cent for Labour and the Liberal democrats respectively.
Meanwhile, Labour's online presence has noticeably stunted since the Damian McBride email scandal.
The survey, Politics Online 2009, was released today to coincide with the launch of Social Media Affairs a new directory of political social media sites.
"The Conservative Party is currently paying most heed to Barrack Obama's recent online campaigning success, with the strongest presence currently in the UK political blogosphere," said Social Media Affairs chief executive Graham Lee.
The adoption of social media among Tories is significantly higher than for Labour, standing at 19 per cent to Labour's 14 per cent.
But the governing party turns the tables at the European level, with 16 per cent of Labour MEPs using social media in comparison to four per cent of Conservatives.
Parliamentary candidates have a surprisingly poor record, with just one per cent of Labour candidates, two per cent of Tory candidates and one per cent of Liberal democrat candidates making an effort.
Social media refers to online pages with a high rate of user participation, such as blogs or Twitter.
Former Blairite spin doctor Alistair Campbell urged people to realise the pivotal role social media will play in political engagement.
"Politicians need to stop seeing social media as an alternative to traditional media communications," he said.
"It is not about bypassing the papers or TV. It is understanding that people are both more demanding and more understanding than they get credit for."
Twitter is a social media site which allows users to write short messages to a group of followers, and read what others are doing.