Saturday, July 25, 2009

Irfan is Right and Wrong on Email

Irfan Ahmed seems to have developed either a paper or newsprint allergy I'm not quite sure which. But he's advocating a whole hearted shift from literature to email and he is right and wrong.

He's right of course in that we should be living up to our environmental credentials and moving away from the amount of paper we want to use. He is also right in that the electronic age is upon us and we should be using more use of website and email shots etc.

He's wrong in that there is no directory of everyone's email, whereas we do have a list of every elector in the constituency. Even the emails that some of us give when we return our form are only for internal use and not for the full register publications. In fact I can't remember all of my own email addresses, or on occasion a couple of their passwords (yeah some required changes and now I'm lost thankfully not the major ones). Indeed many people have more than one. I have one for work, one for home, one for campaigning, one for my MSN etc as well as several others of the original ones that I still check for various reasons.

We still need to garner people's email addresses and having worked in a call centre where part of the business people are often asked for that as part of their details people still often refuse to give that. Indeed people are far more willing to give their address than their email. Just look at the recent crash of the mobile phone directory server when it was overwhelmed by the number of people wanting to unsubscribe to show how unwilling people are to give away that sort of information on a wide scale.

Also not everyone, even in this day and age, has and uses their email account regularly. However, everyone does use their front door on an almost daily basis and will check their mail.

Yeah people are likely to not read some of our literature put through their letterbox, put isn't the same also true of unsolicited emails, if not more so with spam filters. At least with deliveries we do know the message has reached the desired voter. Email addresses don't tell us when someone moves even sometimes their work one only alerts us they have left long after the IT crew decide to clean up the addresses.

Yeah we should be moving towards email as much as possible, it is more time efficient way of delivering the message. But we need to gather the email addresses that we need to move wholly over to that. Even in our key target seats with email lists in the thousands we still have less than 10% coverage of the whole constituency, obviously in some of our held seats this figure can be higher, though often is lower. If we are looking to win new seats we need more than 10% penetration which needs we still need to be out there. Delivering leaflets of course isn't just about putting bits of paper through letter boxes and many experiences leafleters will tell you of conversations they have had with people as a result of doing so. Heck, I even first encountered our current local party chair that way.

So Irfan yeah you are pointing in the right direction but the party and indeed the world still has a long way to go with that one. We don't have access to everyone electronic inbox but we do have access to every voter's letterbox.

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