Posts Tagged ‘General Election’

Cash Gordon and the Tory social media fiasco

March 23, 2010 Leave a comment

In a way social media is a bit like bomb disposal – get it wrong and the whole darn thing blows up in your face.

The latest ‘brand’ to get their fingers burnt (and eyebrows singed) are David ‘Call me Dave’ Cameron’s Conservative Party who launched to herald the start of online election battle and show just how on the pulse their finger is.

Set up to highlight Gordon Brown’s close relationship with the unions the site incorporated a Twitter feed showing any tweet containing the hashtag #cashgordon on the homepage. That’s right! Any tweet! And unmoderated!

Pretty soon the homepage was being bombarded by all manner of anti-Tory messages before users discovered that lines of code could also be included too. This allowed hackers to redirect visitors to other (darker) areas of the internet including, the Labour Party website, porn sites and, of course, Rick Astley videos.

Excellent Timeline courtesy of Meg Pickard

Further embarassment came when it was discovered that the $15,000  site developers had already built the template as part of a campaign against Obama’s healthcare reforms and is hosted alongside other sites including one that campaigns against gays in the military and another that aims to derail carbon trading legislation designed to combat climate change.

Compare and Contrast - "Cash Gordon" and "No Energy Tax"

The Tories aren’t the first and won’t be the last to make a pigs ear of a social media campaign and if anything can be salvaged from the debacle it is that they responded quickly and took the site down until the situation could be remedied.

While they are fortunate that the whole exercise won’t have touched the vast majority of voters, when you are trying to convince the masses that you should be running the country it doesn’t look great if you can’t even set up a website.