WASHINGTON: Tony Blair beats Bill Clinton when it comes to PR on the Net.
That's the view of Phil Noble of Politics Online, who delivered the keynote address at this week's conference - 'Campaigning on the Internet: The Future of American Politics'.
'We tend to think 'we're America, so we're the first, biggest and best' when it comes to the Net,' said Noble. 'But some of the best use of the Internet is overseas.'
Clinton's use of the web was slammed - the White House site has only a limited history of President's abode and a couple of press releases.
In contrast, praise was heaped on British Prime Minister Blair. 'He uses the web as well as any head of state,' Noble told PRWeek. 'He uses it as an independent new source to tell people about what he's doing. And he has Internet chats and takes questions. He certainly does it much better than Clinton.'
But Noble said it was the Swedish Premier Goran Persson, and his Social Democratic party, who had made the best 'single use' of the Internet, in their campaign to win the country's last election.
The ranks of pundits who say the next US election will be won or lost on the Net are growing, so politicians who are not using the web effectively must put their sites in order.
Web advocates cite the recent election of ex-WWF wrestler Jesse Ventura to the Minnesota governorship. Ventura used a booth at a state fair to collect thousands of e-mail addresses, and wrote to all of them, making e-mail key to his hugely successful campaign.