No one can deny that as a part of Election 2011, online media has been playing a larger role in candidates campaigns. There are few serious candidates without a Facebook page, twitter account and website. Something that has baffled me however, has been Fine Gaels online strategy.
First stop is finegael2011.com, the official site of the 2011 Fine Gael election bid. Though recently, you’d be forgiven for thinking that it had been hacked, as on the front page there was a poorly coded flash game which seems to make fun of Irelands political figures, including Enda himself (link). Enda is the protagonist and his catchphrases, complete with dodgy Mayo accent, include : “Tax that!” (to Labour candidates), “Cheapest bank bailout?” (to Brian Linehan) and my personal favourite, “It’s the economy stupid” to Gerry Adams. Bear in mind, Kenny spouts these when you kill other politicians by throwing Fine Gael logos at them.
This comes on the heels of the recent cringe worthy Valentines Day Fine Gael eCards that popped up on the site on February 14th. Create yours here. I’d love to have been a fly on the wall when that one got approved.
Finally, and most egregiously, whomever manages the party’s Facebook page has been deleting posts related to the issue of gay marriage. Instead of coming out, if you’ll pardon the pun, with their official line and meeting questions head on they have fanned the flames of a controversy that the party scarcely needs at this important stage of the campaign.
It seems that Fine Gael has taken its first baby steps into the world of Internet canvassing, and with it has come eCards, flash games and censorship. Maybe next time around they’ll plan with a little more wisdom and try to use their online presence to engage with voters and invite some debate on policy and issues, instead of just on who can get the best score in their infuriating sidescrolling platformer.