Source: The Independent
After relinquishing his seat as the Member of #Parliament for Sheffield Hallam before the last election in 2005, Richard Allan has re-emerged as one of the most influential figures in British politics.
First, Allan acted as campaign manager for his fellow #Liberal Democrat Nick Clegg, who succeeded him as Sheffield Hallam’s elected representative and stands as a Westminster kingmaker in the event of a hung parliament. And second, Allan – who says he is no longer a Liberal Democrat but is politically neutral – is overseeing the way that the forthcoming election campaign will evolve on Facebook, the biggest website in the world.
No one, least of all the three main political parties, can afford to ignore the influence of #Facebook, which has 400 million members worldwide and last week toppled #Google as the most visited website in the #United States, a position the search engine has had to itself for three years. In the #United Kingdom, #Facebook has particularly high penetration, with 24 million users, more than half of whom visit their profile every day. “The way that people engage with politicians or political issues will be dramatically different in this election simply because 12-13 million of them are sharing half-an-hour of every day engaging and sharing content with one another, using a platform like ours,” says Allan, 44, who has the grand title “Director of Policy, Europe”. Out of politeness, he adds “…and the other platforms as well”.
Outside #Facebook’s London headquarters, tourists are shopping for Carnaby Street souvenirs but Allan is anxious to point out that the social networking site reaches to all corners of Britain. “Sunderland is the top #Facebook town,” he proudly observes. “We can reasonably claim to be more representative than pretty much anywhere else. #Facebook is certainly not a metropolitan elite service – it covers the broad demographic of the United Kingdom.”