Kerry McCarthy told labourlist.org that politicians have in the past misunderstood social media and warned her colleagues, "This is the first election where people do not have to wait for the politicians to come to them. All our candidates need to start building up online collateral from now on."
She said that new media campaigning is not dissimilar to traditional campaigning, but admitted MPs had got it wrong in the past. "There was a misunderstanding that new media would be like old media, i.e. about broadcasting. New media is more powerful in the way that we develop relationships, help constituents [and] converse with members."
She added that the next election will be the first where constituents do not have to wait for politicians to knock on their door or do an interview to find out what they have been doing. "Voters will increasingly be searching the web to find out what we think about the issues, what we have been doing in the locality and looking to see what we sound like," she said.
McCarthy said Twitter is her social network of choice, where she has built up a following of over 2,000 people.