Canadian news media continue to report so-called Social MediaElection | Canada News ReportCanadian news media continue to ...
have a large audience.To say the Canadian parties have not grasped the fundamentals of social media is an understatement o...
PostRank is a social media analytics service that uses a proprietary ranking algorithm to measure“social engagement,” whic...
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Canadian news media continue to report so called social media election | canada news report

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Hardly an Obama-like foray into modern election warfare, the Canadian online campaign limps along. Why? It’s because the national parties’ use of social media is the equivalent of strapping on a pair of skates to go skiing.

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Transcript of "Canadian news media continue to report so called social media election | canada news report"

  1. 1. Canadian news media continue to report so-called Social MediaElection | Canada News ReportCanadian news media continue to report on our so-called Social Media Election, focusing on the use ofTwitter and Facebook. As a service to the average person trying to sort through social media’s impacton the campaign, Canadanewsreport offers a quick guide to what’s really happening on the onlinehustings.Above all else, successful social media deployment is about engagement, and most particularly in anelection context, creating communities of interest that build and share a groundswell of opinion andinfluence. Note the operative word is “sharing.” Going into week two of the election we see an acuteabsence of good bones social media.Hardly an Obama-like foray into modern election warfare, the Canadian online campaign limps along.Why? It’s because the national parties’ use of social media is the equivalent of strapping on a pair ofskates to go skiing.First of all the parties are only using Twitter and Facebook to influence voters. And, they are usingthese two devices for the wrong purpose, that is, to broadcast their bromide messages. Using these toolsas a vehicle for mini-press releases misses the point. At a very basic level, the winner of a real socialmedia contest would be the one who got followers to share or forward the most messages on toconstituencies of interest. This is simply not happening.But again, even if parties were using Facebook and Twitter competently, it still would not constitute asocial media campaign.Let’s look at a successful social media political campaign. The Obama election campaign strategyincluded use of 15 different social media networking sites. Some of these include Digg, Reddit, Mixxetc., to cite a few examples. So engaged were his followers that immediately post-election, thousandsof Obama for America volunteers held house parties to discuss how the campaign’s grassrootsconnections could be channeled to support the president-elect’s legislative agenda. That, my friends, isengagement.They understood – as Obama did – that social media could inspire people, give them a voice, connectthem with like minds and help channel their support, but you still needed boots on the ground to win anelection. The interplay between online engagement and offline activity was integral to the campaign’ssuccess. It continues to support his administration and will do the same during his re-election run.Again, there is a tendency at this point to interrupt with the usual Canadian declaration that this is notthe US. There are the oft-cited differences, including economies of scale, cultures of partisanship,divergent electoral and campaign systems and so forth. But the Obama playbook should still beinstructive to us.For example, if I were Elizabeth May, I would not be hammering away about how I was not included inthe televised leaders’ debate. Instead, I would be taking a play out of the Obama book and holding myown online townhall meeting. I am sure, based on our studies of interests in this election, she would
  2. 2. have a large audience.To say the Canadian parties have not grasped the fundamentals of social media is an understatement ona grand scale. The following are some opportunities the Canadian party machinery could have takenadvantage of by now.Let’s look at an Edmonton-based group called Nexopia. It’s blog platform that evolved from a smallcommunity site called Enternexus.com, a website built by Timo Ewalds.As of October 2010, the site had just under 1.5 million users and nearly 35 billion hits. Over 95 percentof its users are Canadian and the site has become quite popular in western Canada, with over 1.4million member accounts and over 500,000 active users and a hit count of over 33 billion. During peakhours the site sometimes reaches over 30,000 users and several thousand guests online. This is a sturdyonline tool if I ever saw one.If I were managing a political campaign I would have engaged this audience in the campaign lead-upand continued to do so. If Obama were running to lead this country he would have worked to engageand influence this ready-made audience. It is astonishing that the campaigners let 1.4 million potentialvoters slip through their fingers. Neophilia is only one example.Social media news sites are also prime resources ignored by the parties.There’s a great Canadian news site called NowPublic, a Vancouver-based enterprise that invites newsstory contributions. NowPublic would have welcomed the parties’ on-line social news interaction (notpropaganda but engaging discussion of the issues), netting great exposure, dissemination of informationand helping create an interactive dialogue among candidates and potential voters.Unfortunately, when I went to NowPublic this morning looking for information on the Canadianelection, I found at the top of the page the Obama announcement of his decision to run for re-electionin 2012. What’s wrong with this Canadian picture?Clearly, having political parties concentrating on using Twitter and Facebook is like watching someonelook for four-leaf clovers in their backyard while opportunity knocks at their front door.And what of measuring the misplaced social media efforts of our national parties?Canadian Press is using the observations of Mark Blevis, a digital public affairs strategist, and quotingthe analytics of a company called Sysmos to interpret the online engagement of Canadians during theelection. So far, they’ve looked at what? You guessed it, Facebook and Twitter.While Twitter and Facebook have some metric value, the overall social media world of chat has to beconsidered. Which is far greater then just reporting on Facebook and Twitter numbers. Even Blevisadmitted that the reports out of Sysmos are incomplete. Though, in fairness there was a promise toprovide analysis of other tools over the campaign. We’ll see if they do a better job than they did comingout of the analytical gate.A better choice than Sysmos for analytical reporting is PostRank, based out of Waterloo, Ontario.
  3. 3. PostRank is a social media analytics service that uses a proprietary ranking algorithm to measure“social engagement,” which includes blog comments and links, Internet bookmarks, clicks, page views,and activities from social network services such as Twitter, Digg, and Facebook. These are a full rangeof engagement metrics.In other words, PostRank goes beyond Facebook and Twitter and covers the entire spectrum of socialmedia networking. Their products look past the “one-tweet” and follows that 140-character postthrough its entire life and use. It then places a value on the interaction and applies a score to the event.Again, here’s an example of a great Canadian product ignored by the campaigners.The trouble with trying to measure the stumbling social media steps of the federal parties is, unlike theObama campaign, our hometown boys and girls have not used the menu of social media apparatusavailable to them. So even an able analytics company like PostRank is somewhat hamstrung when itcomes to providing metrics.If the parties had taken a few plays out of the Obama social media strategy and extended their socialmedia reach to make a complete attempt they would indeed be in a social media race. They should beon news social media sites such as Digg, Mixx, reddit and NewsVine and have additional blogs onYahoo, Google, Posterous, TypePad and WordPress. WordPress, last time I looked, had over 500million bloggers in their little community. And, as for Google, well I think we understand that 85percent of Canadians use it everyday.We’ll be providing more updates on the alleged Canadian social media election in the next few days.

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