Sunday, November 25, 2012

Social Media Use in the Federal By-elections

I have been meaning to write this blog posting for over a week now.  Towards the start of the campaign I asked all the candidates a simple question on Twitter and got less than impressive results from most of the candidates.    After that I asked several other people to try asking questions in their area of interest.

One person was in Calgary, one was in Vancouver and the final one in Toronto.   All of them with strong activist interests in specific fields.   I did not know when or what they asked of the candidates until they sent me the results.  I have all their results now and to say I am not impressed is an understatement.

I am debating posting all the responses, but I am not sure that it really adds much to where I am going to go with this.   The only candidate that answered all three was Green Donald Galloway in Victoria.   Galloway seems to honestly trying to use Twitter as a communications tool though his reach is very limited.

In general the social media accounts have all be one way communication or no communication at all.   They have also in general been reaching very small audiences and the audiences have almost all been allies.    These social media accounts have not been used to improve the quality of communication between the voters and the public.

What I have seen of twitter "debate" in relation to the by-elections has largely been rah-rah for our guy or crapping on a candidate a person did not support.   What I am not seeing is much general discussion of the by-elections by people on twitter.

Given the number voters in each ridings, the scale of people the campaigns have been connecting with is not a significant number.  Beyond that, given that most of the communication is with supporters of which a lot of them are not in the ridings, I am not sure that any of the social media campaigns have swayed a measurable number of voters.

Here are some stats on social media use (previous data at this link)

Twitter followers
  1. 3420 Chris Turner - Green Calgary Centre
  2. 2935 Joan Crockatt - CPC Calgary Centre
  3. 990 Murray Rankin - NDP Victoria 
  4. 929 Dale Gann - CPC Victoria 
  5. 898 Harvey Lock - Liberal Calgary Centre
  6. 865 Paul Summerville - Liberal Victoria
  7. 570 Grant Humes - Liberal Durham
  8. 538 Larry O'Coonor - NDP Durham
  9. 508 Donald Galloway - Green Victoria 
  10. 469 Erin O'Tolle - CPC Durham
  11. 446 Dan Meades - NDP Calgary Centre
  12. 125 Virginia Ervin - Green Durham
Increase in followers since November 12th
  1. 382 Chris Turner - Green Calgary Centre
  2. 348 Harvey Locke - Liberal Calgary Centre
  3. 213 Joan Crockatt - CPC Calgary Centre
  4. 195 Donald Galloway - Green Victoria
  5. 118 Murray Rankin - NDP Victoria
  6. 108 Dan Meades - NDP Calgary Centre
  7. 88 Larry O'Connor - NDP Durham
  8. 56 Grant Humes - Liberal Durham
  9. 49 Paul Summerville - Liberal Victoria
  10. 48 Erin O'Toole - CPC Durham
  11. 37 Dale Gann - CPC Victoria
  12. 19 Virginia Ervin - Green Durham
Interesting that the biggest increases are all in Calgary Centre which has also had by far the liveliest twitter feed going at #yyccentre.

Tweets since November 12th
  1. 228 Harvey Locke - Liberal Calgary Centre
  2. 178 Donald Galloway - Green Victoria
  3. 174 Paul Summerville - Liberal Victoria
  4. 142 Chris Turner - Green Calgary Centre
  5. 130 Grant Humes - Liberal Durham
  6. 75 Dan Meades - NDP Calgary Centre
  7. 63 Erin O'Toole - CPC Durham
  8. 59 Larry O'Connor - NDP Durham
  9. 46 Murray Rankin - NDP Victoria
  10. 30 Dale Gann - CPC Victoria
  11. 23 Joan Crockatt - CPC Calgary Centre
  12. 1 Virginia Ervin - Green Durham
None of the front runners are doing the tweeting it seems

You can find the links to their twitter and facebook pages on my pages for Durham, Calgary Centre and Victoria.
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