MP websites need some ‘2.0’
What is it with the websites of most, if not all, members of parliament? They’re shockingly bad.
And it wouldn’t take much to make them a little better. Here’s a few things they should add:
Most MPs have a twee little form somewhere on their website that allows users to email them. Others just list their email (or constituency/office) addresses.
Did Facebook not happen? Was Twitter a dream? Allow users to comment on your website. And comment back. In fact, make this your home page and actually put the public at the heart of your presence online.
And don’t forget to comment back. And maybe you could add a little rating system so users can let you know what they think of your feedback and the outcomes you’ve got for them - positive, negative or neutral.
2. Live updates and real-time feedback
It’s a shame that a lot of MP websites have just a description of where they are from, who they represent and tell us a little fact about them that makes us feel like they could be human.
Some have cleverly put a news section in.
Forget that. People have become accustomed to receiving updates in 140 characters or less. So draw your Twitter stream (wait, you’re not on Twitter yet?) into your website. Or create your own micro-update section where you can post things like: ‘Got an hour left til the big vote on something that really effects you’ and, better still, as questions: ‘How would you vote?’, ‘What do you think?’ - can it really hurt that much?
3. Expense claims
Because that was a big thing a few years back and a few MPs half-heartedly tried to show they were open about them by publishing the details in a spreadsheet on their website.
Does any member of the general public download spreadsheets and and fully understand them? I generally don’t.
Make expense claims a major section of the site with each claim getting a brief description, amount and why you are spending taxpayer money. Maybe even open it up to user comments - because, like it or not, we all have comments to make.