BEFORE the snow and ice turned the UK into a skating rink, the first few days of 2010 saw the news agenda firmly driven by our major political parties.
Those who seek to be in charge of pretty much everything we do started this election year with loud bangs on their campaign drums.
Even the correspondents reporting the speeches, the policies and the lukewarm winter revolt on the Labour side of Westminster, started to top and tail their reports with comments like “. . . we may not know when the election is, but it’s clear from what so and so said that he/ she believes the campaign is on . . .”
Or, as one radio news reader drearily told her listeners: “. . . the parties acknowledge there could be five more months of this . . .”
In the frenzied world of the Westminster village, of course, all of this matters a great deal. Whisper it to the strategists and lobbyists, but this far out from polling day and outside Parliament it matters less.
Businesses continue to be transformed by technology – and have been since the last General Election. In many instances, it’s the same technology that will ensure this campaign – like the last US Presidential contest – will also be different.
Have the mighty communications machines behind Messrs Brown and Cameron been upgraded to meet the new challenges and opportunities? No, according to a report published last week.
The two main party leaders are failing to protect their personal brands in the search results, with unofficial and negative websites ranking in the first page of Google.
This is one of the findings from the Political Search Index by Tamar, which has looked into the online reputation management strategies of the party leaders.
The results for searches for both Labour and Conservative are in general relevant, containing many official websites. The Lib-Dems, it appears, can relax on this aspect of their activity. However, it's a different story when you search for either David Cameron or Gordon Brown.
Each set of results have unofficial blogs highly critical of each leader. Both of these sites rank highly too: fifth on the first page of Google in the case of Cameron, and eighth for Gordon Brown.
The internet will make this a campaign like no other. The information genie is out of the bottle. Voters will be watching with interest.
MATT JOHNSON is chairman of Mando Group.