Thursday, November 1, 2012

UPDATED: How did the Federal By-election candidates do with my twitter question?

Everyone in the media is talking about how important social media is in politics.   I thought I would monitor social media use by all the candidates during the whole campaign.   A couple of days ago I posted stats on Twitter followers and the number tweets for each candidate.   On Halloween I decided to try an experiment and see how the 13 candidates in the three federal by-elections would do if I engaged them on twitter.   October 31st at 5:10 pm Pacific daylight time I posted the following question on twitter to the 13 candidates:

so why should someone vote for you and not one of the other candidates?

I had 2 New Democrats, 1 Conservative, 1 Green and 1 Progressive Canadian answer.   Two answered from Durham and Victoria and only one from Calgary Centre.   No Liberals answered.

UPDATE November 2nd:  After a second message to the eight that did not respond in the first 24 hours I have had two more responses - I now have had 3 Greens, 2 New Democrats, 2 Conservatives,  1 Progressive Canadian and 1 Liberal - the one Liberal response was erased later.   I have had 3 from Calgary Centre, 3 from Durham and 2 from Victoria.

First one to answer was Donald Galloway, Green candidate in Victoria, at  5:35 pm PDT

@BC_Iconoclast No party whip pro bono activist critical thinker; demands opposition cooperation passion for justice listener truth2power OK?

I am impressed with what he could get into 140 characters - there was an addendum at 5:44 pm

@BC_Iconoclast Hard worker committed to moral/eco principles solution oriented experience in Ottawa constitution scholar global orientation

Next was Murray Rankin, NDP candidate in Victoria, at 6:20 pm PDT - he answered me over five tweets:

@BC_Iconoclast I've lived in #yyj for over 35 years. I've raised my family here. I love our community and want to make a difference

@BC_Iconoclast I think the Conservatives are taking Canada in the wrong direction and don’t respect the views of BCers #yyjbyelxn

@BC_Iconoclast Harper is way offside with #Enbridge, the Coast Guard, and issues like OAS. I will take these fights to Ottawa.#yyjbyelxn

@BC_Iconoclast I think our MP should be #YYJ's voice in Ottawa, not the other way around. @DeniseSavoie did that – and I want to continue

.@BC_Iconoclast Harper is way offside with #Enbridge, the Coast Guard, and issues like OAS. I will take these fights to Ottawa.#yyjbyelxn

Shortly there after was Durham Conservative candidate Erin O'Toole at 6:32 pm PDT

@BC_Iconoclast -grew up here, history of charitable work, bring private sector & military experience. Hope all are judged on track record

The final one last night was from Ben Christensen, the Progressive Canadian Party candidate in Calgary Centre, at 7:20 pm PDT

@BC_Iconoclast great question, as I have said b4 unlike other candidates I seek to get to to know people and earn their trust not their vote

@BC_Iconoclast I tell it like I see it, what I see is 4 people asking for a vote and doing nothing to earn it, I ask for feedback instead

This afternoon I got one more response, this time from Larry O'Connors the NDP candidate in Durham at 4:24 pm PDT.  He tweeted five times earlier in the day, as much as 7 hours before he responded to me.

@BC_Iconoclast I've always strived to provide honesty, integrity & accountability in my representation. The #NDP & I are offering that.

Dale Gann, Victoria Conservative candidate did not respond but someone locally spoke up in his favour, someone I know from the twitterverse that is not a Conservative but really likes Dale Gann.  (UPDATE 3 pm PDT November 2nd - I got responses from Dale Gann, I know he had been very busy over the last two days with a major campaign event)

A number of the candidates have been on twitter in the last 24 hours but have not responded:
  • Paul Summerville, Liberal candidate in Victoria, was on Twitter at 7:48 pm PDT October 31st but did not respond - he has tweeted or re-tweeted 13 times in the last 24 hours including retweeting one of my tweets but has not yet answered the question
  • Dan Meades, the NDP candidate in Calgary Centre, has tweeted seven times since I sent him the question.
  • Grant Humes, Liberal candidate in Durham, tweeted about his office opening at around 11 am eastern time today but has not answered. 
  • Joan Crockatt, Conservative candidate in Calgary Centre, tweeted at around 11 am Mountain time but has not answered
  • Harvey Locke, Liberal candidate in Calgary Centre, has tweeted four times today but no response to my question
  • Chris Turner, Green candidate in Calgary Centre, tweeted 10 times today but no answer
Durham Green candidate Edward Yaghledjian has not answered.

If you are on twitter why would you not take a few moments to answer a question sent to you?   I have to wonder how much these people see twitter as a two way conversation?

Some of them may not have answered because I am not in their riding so they might think engaging me might be a waste of their time.

More on social media use by the candidates over the next few weeks.
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Update at 9 pm PDT November 1st - I sent a second tweet to the ones I had not heard from.  More later on what comes of that.

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Update at 8 am PDT November 2nd - there more candidates responded.

Larry O'Connor, NDP candidate in Durham, replied to my reply of his reply and thanked me for asking him the question.

Chris Turner, Green candidate in Calgary Centre, at 10:25 pm PDT November 1st
@BC_Iconoclast Doesn't fit tidily in 140 characters. B/c I'm the candidate who best "gets" Calgary now. Also this: http://turner4yyc.ca/home/policy/ 

Why have twitter at all if you are not going to use it to actually engage with people?

The whole point of my question was engagement with the candidates.  This message from Chris Turner is one that shuts down the conversation and says "Go do your own work and figure it out for yourself".   Not only did he ignore me until I asked again, he then blew me off.

I look through Chris Turner's twitter feed and I am not finding examples of engagement with the voters of Calgary Centre.

Harvey Locke, Liberal candidate in Calgary Centre at 9:51 pm PDT November 1st:
@BC_Iconoclast sorry - please check out my website http://www.harveylocke.com/index.html  that should help you decide

If I am on twitter and I am not asking where to find your website, odds are I know where it is and wasted my time looking at it already.   I am not surprised at this response from him because his twitter feed is almost all one way announcements from Harvey Locke. (UPDATE at 9:30 am PDT November 2nd - Harvey Locke has deleted his response to me)


The last answer I got was from Edward Yaghledjian, Green candidate in Durham.  I missed them at first because he did not include @BC_Iconoclast in his reply

His first response was:
I'm sorry but do I know you?

The second was:
No! Why would you think of voting for me ? BC_iconoclast what is that

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