Sunday Tribune features FG website rip-off

Story in Sunday Tribune

Story in Sunday Tribune
I was up and out early this morning for the filming of a dance scene for Ireland’s first bollywood movie today (awesome fun, post coming later). Glancing in on Twitter during rehearsals I found out that the posts I had written about the Fine Gael website had made page 2 of the Sunday Tribune.

Fine Gael are still sticking to their guns and now claiming that all sorts of research was done into finding inspiration for their new online face. My favourite quote from the unnamed FG spokesperson:

“What has been asserted is not correct; there are grains of truth in this thing but they would get a life of their own on the internet,” a party spokesman said.”

Their lack of understanding of the issues surrounding the website now outweighs the seriousness of their actions. Their lack of engagement with the online community on top of the poorest of efforts in delivering a suitable, usable and useful website is the basis for a total failure in the management of their identity and image online. As Suzy said earlier

“Above all this incident is about the second biggest party in the state and another example of it’s lack of serious commitment to on-line engagement with voters in the country,  a lack of faith in Irish based web developers, and no imagination in the excuse making department either!”

I’m still disappointed and quite annoyed with how the party have handled the incident. FG don’t realise that they’ve missed the boat completely in terms of communication with voters & getting their message out there ahead of the local elections and in time, maybe even a general election before long. Their attitude towards the Internet and the online community (from bloggers to developers) is archaic and worryingly ignorant. I’d normally wish someone luck at this juncture (considering the mountain that they have to climb) but the feeling of disrespect is now a mutual one so they won’t be getting any best wishes (or votes) from this citizen.

8 thoughts on “Sunday Tribune features FG website rip-off”

  1. “The whole response from them has really dented my belief in the integrity of FG, I’m sad to say.” – Well, let that be a lesson, then. Belief in the integrity of a POLITICAL PARTY, indeed…

    I like to think of FG as the FF with the more terrifying leader.

  2. I saw it too Steph and was disappointed that he referred to “online bloggers” (are there any other kind? I know I wrote a post once with a typewriter, but…) and how there was no link of any kind here…

    We’ll take your story, print it, but proper credit?


  3. @Rick: Yeah I was thrilled to see that FG got approached for comments while I being but just some ‘online blogger’, I obviously had nothing further to say.

  4. @Robert :)
    Despite being 32 I’ve never voted in an election here in Ireland, due to being out of the country whenever the opportunity arose. So I’ve been keen to find a party that I could get behind. FG always get the votes in our house (parents and siblings) and I figured that’s where I’d go. However, more and more I’m turned off parties and their candidates. That FG are obviously identical to FF in matters of integrity and respect for the country and her people genuinely despairs me.

  5. Steph, you officially are my hero! Yeah, myself and Andrea picked up the Sunday Tribune to commemorate the event… but as someone who wrote a sociology FYP on social networking sites and has had lecturers ask me ‘why would you bother studying the Internet’, I’m not too surprised about the fact that bloggers are just seen as unimportant in Irish media.

    I think that many people do not understand the social nature of the Internet and that social norms, values and relations are reproduced throughout the Internet; and therefore they should apply the same logic to the Internet in terms of behaviours, sources and ethics as they would in so-called ‘real life’.

    This essential understanding has been violated in two ways in this affair. One, the plagiarism of the BBC code is intellectual property theft and just because it’s on the Internet does not lessen the gravity of this breach of ethics. Were a Fine Gael TD to copy a speech made by another politician, s/he would be called out on it straight away. Two, as far as I am concerned you are a source of information and a political commentator on this affair. Again in ‘real life’ if you were to call media attention to some mishandling of FG affairs, you would be a whistleblower, a political commentator, a credible source but because you are a blogger, you are a troublemaker creating a moral panic.

    This essentially is the problem with how the Internet is viewed- a dichotomy. It’s either ‘real life’ or the Internet, rather than a complementary interaction. If you are a journalist writing about this topic, you’re credible; if you are a blogger, you are a trouble-maker.

  6. Really this comes down to the fact that we are all of us crying out for a proper engagement strategy to be run by a political party in Ireland. All of them have so far failed to use their online presence effectively and this is another example of a political party getting it wrong, which is just so disappointing.
    At the end of the day you are not going to change the country by having a good online presence, but it will absolutely help you broadcast your message, engage with the public and strengthen your brand. It just seems that political parties in Ireland are ticking the boxes beside the website requirements and moving on, failing utterly to realise the potential value there.
    On a side note FG did themselves absolutely no favours with how they reacted to this story. They were caught with their pants down and have tried instead to justify their position going immediately on the defensive. Had they been a bit more savvy about it they would have realised they had a great PR opportunity on their hands, admit the got it wrong and invited people like Stephanie to come meet with them to advise them on what they should be doing online and what their website should look like. That would have shown real engagement with the community and Irish business and would have been a story in itself that would have set them apart from the rest of the gang.

    Instead … they dropped the ball. Again.

    At some stage, hopefully soon, one of these parties will come to realise the opportunities for proper online engagement.

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