Last night, Shane Greer, the leading Conservative blogger, was the special guest speaker at our wine reception. With our meeting taking place in the stylish confines of the Engineering Building’s Executive Suite, Shane gave an insightful talk on politics, new media and campaigning.
Using his experience as a blogger and activist, he spoke authoritatively on how on-line media was influencing politics (citing examples like the Twitter backlash against Jan Moir and Carter Ruck’s attempted injunction against the Guardian). He told us how on-line media was making mainstream media more accountable, as well as allowing greater interactivity (such as with the website www.myconservatives.com facilitating grassroots movements and campaigns).
However he didn’t just indulge in digital evangelism, as he acknowledged that the mainstream media was not going to be wiped out soon by the rising popularity of on-line bloggers like Guido Fawkes. Shane then went on to speak passionately about the benefits of campaigning “on the doorstep“, explaining how the physical connection matters and makes campaigning (even by telephone) a better way to persuade and reach voters than through the Internet.
As the speech came to a close, the audience were eager to ask questions. Shane deftly handled the questions – like revealing, when asked about his political journey, that he had only got interested in politics a few years ago and offering, on the one hand, advice to fledging bloggers and on the other, a critique of Labour’s centralising approach to online media (with particular criticism reserved for Labour’s “Twitter tsar” and her declaration that “Labour doesn’t need the Sun – we’ve got Twitter!“)
Overall it was a great event (some audience members could be spotted busy at their notebooks as Shane spoke), with a nice turnout too. Our next event is the Westminster Pub Crawl, on Tuesday November 17th (after Reading Week) at 19.30. (Details on Facebook here)