How web-savvy is your party?

Quico says: From today, both Juan Cristobal and I will be out travelling: he has a business trip, I’m going to a conference.

To keep the blog active, we’ve prepared a series of posts reviewing the websites of Venezuela’s main political parties. A new review will appear each day.

The Internet is proving to be a powerful weapon in the politics of our time. It seems like tapping the power of the Internet is fast becoming a crucial factor in making or breaking a candidate, a party or a platform. Are Venezuelan politicians (from all sides) paying attention? Have they grasped the importance of the Internet?

We’ll be reviewing websites to try and find an answer. Websites will be judged on six criteria:

Updatedness – 20 Points.
You can tell a lot about how much people care about and use a website by how up-to-date it is. And, of course, nothing’s more useless than a topical website with 6-month old information. Our first criterion, therefore, is how often the site is updated, how “news-y” it is. We award extra points for use of recent web-video.

Interaction possibilities – 20 Points.
A party web-site should be about more than just pushing information down to passive recipients; it should be about empowering people to use the website as an organizing tool. This criteria tries to capture how much of the whole Web 2.0 ethos has filtered down to Venezuelan party webmasters, and to what extent the website is used as a tool to catalyze off-the-web action.

Meaningful positions – 20 Points.
Every party website has some doctrinal material on it (well, at least they should!). But can an actual ideology be discernible when you are being drowned by a tsunami of clichés?

Web-Design – 20 Points.
How hard is it to find what you’re looking for? How attractive are the graphics? Points here go to “clean” web-design that’s elegant, balanced and functional, and are deducted from overly loud or cluttered designs.

Contact Information – 10 Points
Is the website helpful in getting in touch with specific people filling specific roles within the party? Or do you just get one or two all-purpose contact points? Is there any contact information at all?

Local Goodness – 10 Points.
With state and local elections coming up, it’s especially important to provide locally relevant information. Does the website allow you to find out what the party is doing in your specific location? Or is it as Caraco-centric as the Venezuelan media?