LibDems’ Featherstone on tech & politics

I mentioned the other day that MP Lynne Featherstone, a long-established blogger and the Commons’s first Twitterer had been announced as chair of the Liberal Democrats’ new Technology Board. In an article to be published by the New Statesman, she talks a bit more about her (considerable) experience with technology in politics. It’s a balanced, pragmatic and insightful piece.

First, you don’t have to know how to do the technology – you can get other people to help with that – but understanding what you want out of it and the new opportunities it offers is vital. Second, it helps bring political success – I wouldn’t have got elected an MP without it. And third, as much of the technology has got easier and easier to do, getting the technical details right is – while still important – becoming less important compared with getting your mindset right.

I couldn’t agree more… particularly with that final point. For all I bang on about good technical execution here, the fact remains that substance beats style. You could have the ugliest, most ancient-looking blog in the world – but if you’re filling it consistently with good stuff, all such functional and aesthetic sins can be forgiven.

Even so, it’s great to hear that Lynne is preparing to move off Blogger, in favour of – well, guess… :) (To be fair, WordPress has been the LibDems’ platform of choice for some time, with their various subject-specific blogs running on WP MU, and Nick Clegg’s personal site on WP solo.)

So what’s this Technology Board all about then? Lynne explains…

There is work that needs to be done to continue improving and expanding the party’s use of technology, and in particular the internet, which falls into the category of getting more and better tools. There is a key job of work in tapping into the pool of expertise amongst our members and supporters in writing, improving and supporting our tools. But above all, it is a matter of changing the way we think and act, so that we more fully embrace the more open, more collaborative, more sharing outlook that is about engaging – not lecturing – and is, for an increasing number of people, an instinctive part of the way they lead their lives, and they expect others to also.

I’m watching with great interest.