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Samuel Coates joins CCHQ's new media team

Sam-coates.ashx Until a year ago Sam Coates was Deputy Editor of ConservativeHome.  He is now leaving his job as speechwriter to David Cameron to take on a new media role at CCHQ.  Working with Rishi Saha, Sam (when he is not chopping word for elderly widows) will be helping to develop the party's use of the internet.  It's a perfect fit for Sam's networking skills and love of technology.

He has today written about his role on the party's Blue Blog:

"This understanding of what we call the post-bureaucratic age informs the Conservative approach to policy-making. But if this understanding informs the way we believe we should organise ourselves as a country, it is only natural that it also informs the way we organise ourselves as a party.  The power of web 2.0 has not been in the top-down broadcasting of information, but in collaboration and the building of communities. Just think of the bottom-up, user-generated sites like YouTube and Wikipedia."

Read Sam's full post here.

Amara's Law - that we overestimate the effects of technology in the short run and underestimate those effects in the long run - is also true of the internet's impact on politics.  Over coming years the differences between political parties, campaigning groups, opinion pollsters, publishers and TV stations are going to dissolve because of technology.  I don't think there's a more interesting place to be in politics at the moment than in new media and wish Sam happiness and success in his new role.

My great fear is that the Left will use its looming time in opposition to dominate the internet.  The Conservative Party's efforts lead the field in Britain but we are not even close to emulating the hi-tech dynamism of American politics.  The efforts remain nearly all top down too.  WebCameron - CCHQ's greatest success - is about communicating to people.  There's still little harvesting of popular ideas and wisdom.  There is too little understanding that in the internet age successful political projects will have to be more like busy coalitions of people interested in single issues than centralised groups of very likeminded people. 

Sam, Rishi, Craig Elder and the rest of the new media team have an exciting but daunting time ahead of them.  Rishi and Craig recently gave me a briefing on some of what they have planned and it is good stuff.  This year, before (hopefully) taking office, represents a particularly important time for the Conservative Party to collect email addresses, Facebook friends and Twitter followers.  Good luck to everyone involved.

Tim Montgomerie


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