Fri 30 Apr, 2010

For immediate release 30 April 2010

The Scottish Green Party has revealed a deal with Edinburgh-based company Sodash to use their innovative Twitter toolkit to help out during the election campaign. Green candidates and activists are using Sodash to find what issues local voters are discussing online, and to help Green candidates respond directly to these issues. Direct conversations of this sort with voters will be crucial to build public trust, especially in an era when confidence in politics is at such a low ebb.

Twitter is also a key battleground in this election, with more than 10,000 tweets (as comments on Twitter are known) on the subject posted every day, a number which is rising fast as polling day looms. A report last year indicated that 5.5 million people in Britain use the service, almost 10% of the population.

Patrick Harvie MSP said:

"This is an extraordinary chance to change the way Greens engage with people online, and we're delighted to have the the opportunity to trial Sodash during the campaign. It's great to see a Scottish company innovating in this area, and technology like this can level the election playing field online. We don't have the big donors and the guaranteed airtime other parties can rely on, but Sodash enables us to turbocharge our online engagement during this campaign.

"Twitter is increasingly central to the debate, with more than 5 million people using the service in Britain alone. The nature of debate online is very different, with issues largely ignored elsewhere coming under intense scrutiny. You only have to look at the passage of the disgraceful Digital Economy Bill to see this difference. The Bill was the most-discussed political issue of the week on Twitter, with many online declaring that the three largest parties had lost their votes forever over it.

"These voters rely on the internet for much of their news and for much of their political debate, and we need to be where they are, not just out on the street doing traditional campaigning. It would be a mistake to think that this election will be won or lost online, but it would be a much more serious mistake to underestimate the importance of social media."

Company director Dr Daniel Winterstein explained the concept behind Sodash:
"Sodash uses artificial intelligence to cut through the noise on Twitter. This helps activists and candidates deal with the high volume of traffic and focus on the conversations that count. The software learns from examples what matters, both to Green candidates and to the people who're considering voting for them. This frontline campaign experience will also help us develop new features for Sodash, which we believe will become the software of choice for organisations who take Twitter seriously."

For more information on Sodash, see: http://sodash.com/election

Sodash is a trading name for Winterwell Associates Ltd.

The Scottish Green Party is on Twitter at:
http://twitter.com/scotgp

Patrick Harvie MSP is at:
http://twitter.com/patrickharvie

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