As the election campaign has now drawn to a close the political blogosphere may be in a state of limbo for the next 20 hours or so. With little to say until the analysis of the results start flowing as the first results come in. To fill this vacuum I would like to ask a question rather than make a comment.
What affect has the internet had on this election campaign?
There appears to have been a greater web presence in this campaign than there was even two years ago during the 2005 Westminster election. There are some 35 blogs discussing the Welsh election alone. Much use has been made of YouTube and I am told (not that I received one) that some candidates have been e-mailing their constituents in some places. But what, if any, practical effect has all this activity had on the election and its outcome?
Has web activity actually won or lost a single vote?
Is the effect of web activity subtler, as an aid to practising arguments or as a source of persuasive points that can be made on the doorstep? for example.
Does the internet harm the campaign? Do some potential party activists sit at home writing blog posts or producing YouTubes and think that they have then done their bit for the cause, using that as an excuse for not knocking on doors, filling envelopes, delivering leaflets etc - the tried and trusted way of winning votes?