When the word “Blog” (weB LOG) made it’s early appearance a number of years back, some Canadian politicians thought of it as a novel outlet in their electioneering arsenal. Afterall, every bit of publicity and eyeball count helped.
Former Prime Minister Paul Martin made use of it during his run for the Federal Liberal Party leadership. The UGLY Chinese Canadian read his infrequent diary entries, and found it anemic. It was, however, somewhat interesting, in knowing where he was… once in awhile.
Other politicians were more fortunate.
They somehow managed to attract the social-Net savvy generation. The addicts who camp in front of computers and socialized using Messenging, Facebook, YouTube and the like. These were mainly folks of a younger demographic. Politicians who attracted these social networking supporters, had a far greater reach… and some of them posted whatever they wanted – whether true or otherwise.
The UGLY Chinese Canadian had some fun participating in some of the early hijinks of this sharing of ideas and watching the ability of the information to propagate itself – going Viral, as they call it now.
Pete Quily has prepared some interesting information relating to Vancouver’s past November Civic election. His research paints an interesting success story by the winning Vision Vancouver team.
Overall, the left of center Vision Vancouver had a far more meaningful reach through social networking sites. The right of centre Non-Partisan Association (NPA) received a failing grade… which probably attributed to some of the reasons why they lost the election.
Here is a link to Pete Quily’s site: http://adultaddstrengths.com/2008/11/18/social-media-and-seo-scorecard/
Here’s a brief summary from Quily’s site:
[...]Social Media Lessons.
1. It’s important for a political organization, business, non profit that wants to get involved in social media websites like Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, Flickr etc to understand how the tools work, simply from a defensive point of view, even if you don’t plan on participating in them. I.e., avoiding getting Twitterjacked like Peter Ladner.
2.Why were both candidates so anti social on social networking sites that were designed specifically to allow people to, you know.. socialize?
Robertson did well on Facebook.
But look how many YouTube subscribers they both had. Look at how many YouTube groups they were members of. Zero.
Look at the how many photos they both posted on Flickr. Then compare how many contacts they had on Flickr. Look at how many Flickr groups they joined, ZERO.
If you’re creating all that content, LEVERAGE IT. And do so by being engaging with the community in a non pushy way. Google open source politics to see the way of the future.
If you’re an individual business person you may or may not want to get that involved in social networks because to do them right can take time and resources, or it may not be the right fit for you, or your resources are devoted elesewhere. Frankly I can’t picture myself spending time on MySpace, but I know some people love it.
3. It’s even more important to understand the ecosystem in which the tools are used. [...]
Supporters of Barrack Obama showed the world how to make it work.
And seeing how it engages young minds who (for now) make up the bulk of users on social networking sites, it’s really quite wonderful. Maybe apathy may not be dead, yet.