web analytics

A social media primer for progressive candidates

Written By: - Date published: 8:36 am, March 4th, 2017 - 15 comments
Categories: Andrew Little, Dirty Politics, labour, Media, social media lolz - Tags:

Labour Party General Secretary Andrew Kirton recently sent out a message to Labour Candidates which of itself was a lesson on all things social media.  The text was to warn them to review their social media and delete all the stuff that might be embarassing. But things went astray when it was texted to reporters …

From Newshub:

Labour MPs, election candidates, and staff are under orders to clean up their social media profiles.

The Party’s general secretary Andrew Kirton issued the directive in a text he also accidentally sent to reporters today.

Mr Kirton’s directed them to check their social media feeds to remove any potentially embarrassing material – specifically old posts from before they were candidates.

He’s telling candidates their social media accounts should present them as being professional and in touch, and has asked they delete images showing them drinking or making inappropriate gestures.

It asks Labour candidates to check for any old social media posts which could “embarrass you or the Party” – even if they were taken before the person joined Labour.

Warning that Labour’s opponents were searching through candidates’ pages, Kirton said: “Your social media accounts should present you as a professional and in touch person.

“Images of you drinking, making inappropriate gestures etc etc should be deleted.”

It also says any criticisms of Labour policy, current or former leaders “will come back to haunt you and us”.

And here is the text:

I am sure everyone had a laugh and that Andrew is feeling just a little bit embarrassed right now. At least his text had nothing which was actually sensitive. And the incident contains a very important lesson, if there is something that you want to share that is important and you do not want the media to report it, then do not text/email/message/use a computer or cellphone to spread it around.

Apart from the lesson concerning the inherent weakness of modern social media and how it should be avoided for sensitive messages there is one aspect that I want to comment on and that is the suggestion that having been historically critical of the party or doing something slightly inappropriate like drinking should be considered to be a negative.

I think this is a mistake.  Call me a heretic but I think that we should have proud passionate outspoken candidates, and I don’t believe that sanitising backgrounds is a good thing to do.  Bob Harvey is one of the politicians who I admire the most and he has always outspoken.  He may have caused headaches for his personal advisors but people always knew exactly, precisely where he stood on issues and what he thought.

I appreciate this is the modern way, with parties through message discipline seeking to advance their framing of issues through the media who are intent on spotting and highlighting divisions and differences.  But this ignores the importance of local politics, that communities support candidates who know the local issues and are prepared to advocate for them.  Yes there is a national aspect to all politics but there is also a local aspect which sanitised direction setting can damage.

Of course the opposition is searching through candidates’ social media pages.  Dirty politics is what they do.

And I would be interested to see how the dictum would handle this photo …

15 comments on “A social media primer for progressive candidates ”

  1. Anne 1

    My guess is: someone – possibly a sympathetic journalist – told a senior member that the Nats are digging through all the social pages for anything that could be used to undermine Labour during the campaign. The hierarchy had a collective hissy fit and hey presto… the memo.

    It should be a foregone conclusion that Labour candidates will be trawled extensively by the Nats (and not just social media) but there will always be a few candidates who are inexperienced or naive (or both) and end up embarrassing Labour. We’ve seen quite a few of them over the years.

    It is better to get these types of messages across verbally and NOT to rely on the written word. This time it was an address error but next time it could be an illegal hacking job. Slater’s “hacking” of Labour’s computer system a few years ago shows it can done with impunity if you’re on the “right” side of the fence.

  2. tc 2

    Amateur hour has begun in earnest, does the Luddite not realise that copies of all relevant material is probably already been sifted through, sorted, categorised and saved in multiple physical locations awaiting use.

    The act of deletion would give an opportunity for mischief.

    Totally agree mickey, it should remain for all to see. Nothing to hide etc as having a drink isn’t a crime is it.

    • mickysavage 2.1

      Not in Aotearoa!

      I put up that photo of Andrew to suggest that slightly embarrassing photos can actually be very powerful. I thought it showed what a wonderful sharp sense of humour he has.

      And the BLinglish sheep shearing episode apparently went down very well in national polling and focus grouping land. I bet he practised for days beforehand so that he did not make a complete mess of it …

  3. Draco T Bastard 3

    I think this is a mistake. Call me a heretic but I think that we should have proud passionate outspoken candidates, and I don’t believe that sanitising backgrounds is a good thing to do.

    I agree. People have their foibles and make mistakes. Sanitising those is like trying to make the MPs seem more than human.

    Of course the opposition is searching through candidates’ social media pages. Dirty politics is what they do.

    Yep and the correct response isn’t to cringe and try to hide it but to laugh and say that we’re all human and have human foibles.

    This is how you connect to people.

    To try to hide them and be more than human is to disconnect from them. That may have worked for the Ancient Egyptian God-Kings but it doesn’t work in a democracy.

    • Karen 3.1

      +1 Draco (and Mickey).

      • xanthe 3.1.1

        yes the greens in years past were very good at just saying “what of it, we are all what we are” works very well and the media soon learns nothing to see here.

    • “I think this is a mistake. Call me a heretic but I think that we should have proud passionate outspoken candidates, and I don’t believe that sanitising backgrounds is a good thing to do.”

      “I agree. People have their foibles and make mistakes. Sanitising those is like trying to make the MPs seem more than human.”

      I agree with both of you. The dumbing down of candidates and MPs and parties is one of the biggest turnoffs for voters and is party of the reason for shrinking election turnouts. The Mt Albert by-election may have displayed niceness but it didn’t engage much interest, hence the media switching to promoting a leadership change even before election day.

      For all his foibles and acts John Key didn’t allow himself to get boxed into a PR corner.

      David Shearer’s initial promise was strangled by attempts to repackage him. To an extent Andrew Little has suffered the same but there are signs of him emerging from that at bit.

      Jacinda Ardern suffers from celebrity packaging (although the media like it).

      Winston Peters keeps being successful (to a degree) by being outspoken.

      Sure every candidate should have a good look at their online history in case something could be used to damage them, but passion and beliefs should not be erased for fear of being seen as something other than a party sheep.

    • Yeah, this is the one thing there is to admire in the US Presidential system, it allows for airing a debate inside the party in the public sphere, rather than keeping all the internal debates private and sanitized. (of course, the downside is that the candidates try to sanitize that internal debate for the public as well, and this may have contributed to the rise of corporatism within the Democratic Party, but that’s way too much of a tangent to explore in detail)

      If Labour’s going to continue to be a big tent, I would much rather they air their different visions of the party in public in a constructive and collegial way, and then have Andrew Little piece them all together into a whole, and finally argue why it is a good thing that they bring together voices that disagree so much, and why New Zealand will benefit from being governed by a party with diverse perspectives.

      There’s a certain amount of democracy theatre involved with being a real democratic party. (because it’s not enough to actually be democratic, you have to be seen to be democratic) The Greens get this, it’s why they hold votes in their AGM on so many critical issues, why even when the executive gets to make certain key decisions, they’re still informed by member votes first.

      If Labour want to be a big tent, they need to act like that’s a strength, play to it, and then punch National in the nose for being a party that appeals to only one type of New Zealander, and is ruled from the top down, rather than democratically governed. That’s how you fight back to them trawling your facebook feeds or whatever.

  4. Just at the moment the msm are frantically attempting to defend the indefensible. They can’t fully concentrate on attacking the left so are, and have no doubt already been storing up a supply of potential future targets. Required in the main, when they get time,to foil or divert attention from their seemingly on going stuff ups .(any thing is better than nothing-it can be skewed.}

  5. Skinny 5

    Kirton makes a valid point, messaging maybe should have been sent out via the LEC’s. Oh well no big issue other than a GS boxing things off.

    I guess all those on the Left should ease up on the hard line stuff on social media. Bit guilty of ranting out loud the other day, which in hindsight would have been best not to. Just gets a bit frustrating after 9 years in opposition and you see patterns from past failing reoccurring so you get a bit knee jerky. My apologises the crew is firing with great strength under our best leader since Clark. Onwards and upwards, cheers.

  6. EE 6

    Re Photo: And what’s wrong with a man showing off his sausage?

  7. Ross 7

    and has asked they delete images showing them drinking

    Nothing wrong with drinking…but I suspect the text was directed at people like Poto Williams. Especially the comment about being “a professional and in-touch person”. It’s not professional to publicly criticise another Labour candidate and, by implication, the leader who has endorsed that candidate.

Recent Comments

Recent Posts

  • Fast-tracked Northland water project will accelerate economic recovery
    The Government has welcomed the decision to approve a new water storage reservoir in Northland, the first of a number of infrastructure projects earmarked for a speedy consenting process that aims to accelerate New Zealand’s economic recovery from Covid-19.  The Matawii Water Storage Reservoir will provide drinking water for Kaikohe, ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    13 hours ago
  • Tokelau Language Week reminds us to stay united and strong
    Staying strong in the face of challenges and being true to our heritage and languages are key to preserving our cultural identity and wellbeing, is the focus of the 2020 Tokelau Language Week. Minister for Pacific Peoples, Aupito William Sio, says this year’s theme, ‘Apoapo tau foe, i nā tāfea ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • NZ announces a third P-3 deployment in support of UN sanctions
    The Government has deployed a Royal New Zealand Air Force P-3K2 Orion (P-3) maritime patrol aircraft to support the implementation of United Nations Security Council (UNSC) resolutions imposing sanctions against North Korea, announced Minister of Foreign Affairs Winston Peters and Minister of Defence Ron Mark. “New Zealand has long supported ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Pacific trade and development agreement a reality
    Pacific regional trade and development agreement PACER Plus will enter into force in 60 days now that the required eight countries have ratified it. Trade and Export Growth Minister David Parker welcomed the announcement that the Cook Islands is the eighth nation to ratify this landmark agreement. “The agreement represents ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Securing a pipeline of teachers
    The Government is changing its approach to teacher recruitment as COVID-19 travel restrictions continue, by boosting a range of initiatives to get more Kiwis into teaching. “When we came into Government, we were faced with a teacher supply crisis,” Education Minister Chris Hipkins said. “Over the past three years, we ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Border exceptions for a small number of international students with visas
    The Government has established a new category that will allow 250 international PhD and postgraduate students to enter New Zealand and continue their studies, in the latest set of border exceptions. “The health, safety and wellbeing of people in New Zealand remains the Government’s top priority. Tight border restrictions remain ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • First COVID-19 vaccine purchase agreement signed
    The Government has signed an agreement to purchase 1.5 million COVID-19 vaccines – enough for 750,000 people – from Pfizer and BioNTech, subject to the vaccine successfully completing all clinical trials and passing regulatory approvals in New Zealand, say Research, Science and Innovation Minister Megan Woods and Health Minister Chris Hipkins. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • International statement – End-to-end encryption and public safety
    We, the undersigned, support strong encryption, which plays a crucial role in protecting personal data, privacy, intellectual property, trade secrets and cyber security.  It also serves a vital purpose in repressive states to protect journalists, human rights defenders and other vulnerable people, as stated in the 2017 resolution of the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Ministry of Defence Biodefence Assessment released
    The Ministry of Defence has today released a Defence Assessment examining Defence’s role across the spectrum of biological hazards and threats facing New Zealand. Biodefence: Preparing for a New Era of Biological Hazards and Threats looks at how the NZDF supports other agencies’ biodefence activities, and considers the context of ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • New Approaches to Economic Challenges: Confronting Planetary Emergencies: OECD 9 October 2020
    New Approaches to Economic Challenges: Confronting Planetary Emergencies: OECD 9 October 2020 Hon David Parker’s response following Thomas Piketty and Esther Duflo. Good morning, good afternoon, and good evening, wherever in the world you might be. I first acknowledge the excellent thought provoking speeches of Thomas Piketty and Esther ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 weeks ago
  • Kaipara Moana restoration takes next step
    A Memorandum of Understanding has been signed today at Waihāua Marae between the Crown, local iwi and councils to protect, restore and enhance the mauri of Kaipara Moana in Northland. Environment Minister David Parker signed the document on behalf of the Crown along with representatives from Ngā Maunga Whakahī, Ngāti ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 weeks ago
  • New Zealand and Uruguay unite on reducing livestock production emissions
    Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor and Uruguayan Minister of Livestock, Agriculture and Fisheries Carlos María Uriarte have welcomed the launch of a three-year project that will underpin sustainable livestock production in Uruguay, Argentina, and Costa Rica.  The project called ‘Innovation for pasture management’ is led by Uruguay’s National Institute of Agricultural ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 weeks ago
  • 3100 jobs created through marae upgrades
    Hundreds of marae throughout the country will be upgraded through investments from the Provincial Growth Fund’s refocused post COVID-19 funding to create jobs and put money into the pockets of local tradespeople and businesses, Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones and Māori Development Minister Nanaia Mahuta have announced. “A total ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 weeks ago
  • Health volunteers recognised in annual awards
    Health Minister Chris Hipkins has announced 9 teams and 14 individuals are the recipients of this year’s Minister of Health Volunteer Awards.  “The health volunteer awards celebrate and recognise the thousands of dedicated health sector volunteers who give many hours of their time to help other New Zealanders,” Mr Hipkins ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 weeks ago
  • Community COVID-19 Fund supports Pacific recovery
    The Minister for Pacific Peoples, Aupito William Sio says a total of 264 groups and individuals have successfully applied for the Pacific Aotearoa Community COVID-19 Recovery Fund, that will support Pacific communities drive their own COVID-19 recovery strategies, initiatives, and actions. “I am keen to see this Fund support Pacific ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 weeks ago