A REDDITCH resident who set up former Prime Minister David Cameron’s Facebook page believes social media will be shaping our future – and politics – for years to come.
Mike Rouse is a freelance digital consultant but is reluctant to be pigeonholed to one particular specialism.
“There are lots of specialisms and there are so many different systems out there, but I want to be a generalist who knows enough about all sorts of software,” said Mike, a self-confessed computer geek.
A supporter of the Conservative Party, he’s also passionate about the uses of social media.
“Facebook is a great place for business and to reach people,” he said. “For business it’s like networking, the only bit that’s extra is that you can pay Facebook.”
Originally from Canley in Coventry, Mike’s wife is from Redditch and the couple moved here in 2011.
This year he played a key role in local MP Rachel Maclean’s election campaign by running her Facebook page.
His speciality is targeting people who are likely to click the ‘like’ button.
“That’s my knack,” he said, “and we reached 55,000 people in the Redditch campaign.”
It’s a sign of the effectiveness of the campaign especially as Mrs Maclean was unknown in the town, her party’s campaign was stalling and there was the issue of the loss of services at the Alexandra Hospital.
Mike’s claim to fame is that he set up the Facebook page for the then leader of the opposition, David Cameron.
“Back in 2008 central office didn’t know how any of this worked and I set up David Cameron’s page,” he said.
However he admits it took the Tories a while to appreciate the value of social media, although he’s now been invited to spread the word about its potential.
He’s also happy to tip his hat to the work Labour has done to galvanise support through its social media network for Jeremy Corbyn.
Meanwhile Mike’s business is growing. He’s currently recruiting a PA and is moving out of the Edwards Street Business Centre to Faraday House on Windsor Road.
As for the future, Facebook he feels is here to stay, at least for a while, and longer term he sees the virtual currency Bitcoins becoming widespread,
“It’s already happening and soon you will be able to walk in somewhere and make a payment with Bitcoins.
“It’s cheaper than using a bank account, there are no fees and you can move it across borders – it’s a global currency,” he said.