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Stephen Logan

Parliament Becoming Social with Online Question Time

21st Jul 2009 News, Industry News 2 minutes to read

As the Internet becomes more ‘social’ the way in which we interact with one another, as well as with brands, companies and respected personalities is changing. Now a new service is providing an open forum for people to pose questions to MPs.

Of course it has long been a tradition that you can go in and discuss parliamentary matters with your local MP; either in their office in the commons or constituency out-post. However, this has been taken into the cyber realm with the creation of Yoosk.com’s parliament backed Ask-An-MP service.

However, Yoosk goes a little further than simply providing access to your local MP. There are hundreds of personalities from all walks of life, including footballers, writers and the business people. The Ask-An-MP feature is their latest inclusion and with the run up to a major general election as well as political controversies that are filling the halls of the Commons, it could well become a much-used resource.

Of course there’s no guarantee that MPs will answer all questions; in fact it’d be safe to assume that the majority of leading MPs would probably only consider approaching queries that allow them to provide a bit of personal spin and won’t cause any adverse publicity. However, this combination of democratic governance and social media type interaction is certainly one to look out for in the coming months.

Users will also be voting for the most popular questions. Therefore even if you would like to question Alastair Darling on a few of his budgeting policies, it’s going to be an uphill struggle to get through to the man himself. In fact initially only 12 MPs will be manning the question booth to answer these queries; but doubtless, if the service does take off they will be clamouring to get on and boost the profile of themselves as MPs and that of their party too.

Tweetminster still provides a good overview of elected official using Twitter it shouldn’t be forgotten; allowing the public to pose 140 character questions to politicians brave enough to sign up to the Twitter service. But Yoosk appears to be a far more thorough and possibly productive way of getting your questions answered and reviewing those set by others. It is also yet another indication of the need to use the Internet to reach out to people; be they friends, constituents, opponents, customers or celebrities, the world is becoming social.

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