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.
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.

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: 

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  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



Calgarian said...

Both Turner's and Locke's websites contain a lot of information on "why you should vote for Turner/Locke and not the other candidates." If you'd actually gone to their websites you might be able to ask a less generic question that is actually possible to be answered on twitter.

Bernard said...

I read both their websites and both of them have sites that tell you very little about why they think they are better than the other candidates, why they should be elected.

Harvey Locke gives a bit of a resume but seems to promote the Liberal party and his involvement with the party more than anything else.

Harvey Locke speaks of being "fiscally prudent, socially progressive and environmentally responsible" - last time I checked most of the other candidates shared these values.

I also notice that Harvey Locke has since deleted his response to me. Hardly the action of someone interested in engaging on social media, but in reading his twitter feed engaging with people does not seem to be important to him.

Chris Turner is a bit better in his bio. He does answer the question I had better on one of his pages on his site but did not link me to it. I had expected better from him because he seems to understand social media.

Unknown said...

Your experiment shows me that many have Twitter accounts simply because they "have to". Also see clear evidence that not everybody uses Twitter for the same reasons. Some may use Twitter simply to broadcast their messages, as is evident from some replies. Some use it to interact and connect.

Is interacting and engaging a mandatory use of Twitter though? I am not a professional, but perhaps they use other forms of social media to connect and interact.

Love the experiment! I bet campaigns are taking notice of this also.

George Pringle said...

Rankin's five twitter reply looks like a staffer has typed in the form reply to emails.

You should send an email to see if you get the same thing back.

Calgarian said...

As a followup, why the heck should the Calgary candidates even bother responding to you? You live in BC. They will never be your MP unless you move to Calgary.