Looney established an online presence more than a year ago and, as well as a traditional website at dermotlooney.com, he maintains a daily-updated election diary on his blog, "The Looney Left." His campaign group on Facebook has more than 400 members, the majority of whom live in Tallaght Central, and he is also active on Twitter, as well as campaigning on Bebo and Youtube and the photo site Flickr.
Looney, 26, is the youngest candidate running for South Dublin County Council and his spent little money on the online side of the campaign, instead relying on word of mouth, social networking and traditional leaflets to attract voters to the various online platforms.
"No other candidate in South Dublin has dedicated as much in terms of resources or effort to online campaigning, even though we come to the field without the big money of the major two parties," said Looney. "I believe our online campaign is the biggest, best and brightest of any local election candidate in Ireland, and recent innovations such as frequent use of Twitter and a daily election diary have been attracting voters from across the area to our campaign and our message of change and community."
"Online campaigning is most effective when it has the politics to go along with it. That's why those who don't tend to be reached by traditional canvassing - young people and those living in apartment blocks - are readily identifying with our campaign. Nothing will ever replace knocking on doors, dropping leaflets and other traditional methods, but online campaigning will continue to increase in influence in the years to come."
"Our experience online is that local people are hugely receptive to web campaigning, a point worth keeping in mind with the further rollout of e-government by the Council. Most importantly, we need to make sure such development brings with it those left behind by the information gap - particularly the elderly and those without the resources, skills or literacy to truly engage at present."
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