Slick, modern, professional, well-organised, fresh.
Those are just a few of the words I had scribbled down in my notepad at Plaid's spring conference yesterday.
There are people across Britain and even here in Wales who view Plaid as a narrow-minded, inward-looking, backward party. Any such perceptions would have been blown way if those same people had been at UWIC yesterday.
Plaid had promised that this conference would be one of the most interactive ever. It's certainly difficult to see how this event could have been any more interactive. There was a compulsive Twitterer - including the father of the blogosphere, Iain Dale - in every corner and each update was pooled into one page using the hashtag (I still don't get this), #plaidconf. As a result anyone wanting to follow events from afar could simply log on to http://www.plaidlive.com/ for a live stream of often humourous updates.
As Adam Price gave his predictably motivational speech, I glanced to my right to find Bethan Jenkins, AM blogging away - offering a live interpretation of the MP's words. In her speech Ms Jenkins confirmed everybody's suspicions, stating quite confidently that Saunders Lewis was never on Twitter or Facebook! But she said this is a party that has never been afraid to try new things and suggested this new interaction between the party and its supporters will encourage transparency and openness.
Everywhere you looked modern technology was being used to excellent effect. Sat at the back close to the team managing the whole operation and led by Plaid's impressive campaigns officer, Morgan Lloyd, Dewi Un and myself were amazed at the organisation and sophistication of the process. There were vision mixers, audio operators and of course an indefatigable Twitterer in amongst them. Jingles were played between items and videos on the big screen introduced speakers.
Dewi Un and I asked a few of the delegates what they thought of this new emphasis on using modern technology and the general consensus was positive for the party. Members told us they recognised the need to embrace these opportunities and saw their advantages, particularly in attracting younger supporters. (Youthful - that's another word I had written down.)
There were a few who still favour the tried and tested formula of knocking on doors mainly because they have no idea about computers. This is something the party will have to be wary of. Plaid can't abandon the old ways and risk losing the support of older members of society. Rather it must look to supplement the old ways with these new exciting opportunties. However as was pointed out (oh, so frequently) yesterday, the web-based formula is also tried and tested. Afterall this is the forumla credited with giving America its first black president.
Peter Hain and Eluned Morgan's infamous Delilah video, was supposed to be Labour's 'Obama moment'. That attempt at using the web was ridiculed at yesterday's conference. And with good reason. If any party has been able to grasp the opportunities offered by the web, it is Plaid and they must be praised for that. Even Iain Dale readily conceded that Plaid Cymru are "streets ahead" in their use of modern technology.
Plaid Cymru may yet look back at this conference as its 'Obama moment' - the moment when perceptions changed and the party was praised for its readiness to change with the times.
P.S. Leader of the Plaid group on Cardiff Council, Neil McEvoy also reiterated the party's support to the '.cym' campaign - another example of PC using the web to further their own ambitions.
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