One of the first examples of how this election will use social media has been demonstrated by the UK's ruling Labour party, who held a three-day web competition inviting supporters to submit advertising ideas for an election poster.
They received over 1,000 ideas in three days - in itself a great awareness building exercise.
The Liberal-Democrats are also crowd sourcing election advertising as well at Art Creative, although this competition is still in progress.
Back on Labour's competition, as reported in Campaign's article, Labour picks winner of crowd sourcing competition as Tories launch counter campaign,
The winner, 24-year old Jacob Quagliozzi from St Albans, devised a poster depicting David Cameron as the 'Ashes to Ashes' character DCI Gene Hunt, along with the headline 'Don't let him take Britain back to the 1980s'.Saatchi and Saatchi helped on the program and in a quote reproduced in Blur's post, How Can British Politics Adapt To The Crowdsourcing Model?, said that,
"We are learning that the way to do communications is not to tell people what you want them to hear but to let people play," says Richard Huntington, director of strategy at Saatchi & Saatchi. "This is the sort of thing that all marketers ought to be exploring right now."
Another key quote from the Blur post sums up my thinking on government online engagement both for political and departmental purposes,
For Crowdsourcing to have a genuine effect on the British political system, the parties must not jettison their crowds until the next election campaign comes along. Crowds take time to develop and to see Obamaesque effects, they must be interactive and innovatively maintained during a Parliament term.Engagement needs to be ongoing to build an audience and drive effective outcomes rather than 'turned on and off' like a tap as our campaigns are today. The turn on/turn off approach means that governments pay more to build an audience and don't leverage ongoing community interest in topics (such as defense, health, education and immigration) at a low ongoing cost in order to reduce high communications costs during major campaigns.
Below is the video produced in support of the winning UK Labour competition entry: