Politics 2.0? Are Canadian politicians using Web 2.0 the right way?

While I know that there is already buzz around the town on the use of Twitter (seen a couple of posts by Buzz Bishop and Kate Trgovac, as well as one on The Tyee’s The Hook, led by Monte Paulsen), Facebook and other Web 2.0 applications by Canadian politicians (like Elizabeth May, Stephane Dion and Stephen Harper), I am a bit surprised that almost nobody has (at least from what I’ve been reading on the sphere) touched on the very basic element of Web 2.0 – interactivity and bi-directionality.

Even if I don’t follow everyone who follows me on Twitter, I ALWAYS interact with the people who follow me. I have just briefly seen the Twitter account of Elizabeth May and she is not following anyone and has not interacted with anyone. The opposite attitude was that of the Twitter account of Barack Obama who basically followed everyone who was following, and then some more.

I don’t know Liz May, but some of my very closest friends do, and if any of those would like to relay this message to her and to the rest of the politicos in Canada, please feel free to do so – TALK TO YOUR FOLLOWERS. Yeah, you could argue with me that Obama never did talk to anyone on Twitter, but the point I’m trying to make is that Twitter should not be treated *just* as a news broadcast. If those of us who evangelize about all things Web 2.0 are really interested in harnessing social media for change, we need to explain to the “newbies” that the crux of social media is the bidirectional, interactive conversation that occurs within the realm of blogs, Twitter, vlogs, Facebook, etc.

And yeah, boo for fake Twitter accounts for political figures!

Related posts:

  1. Exploring the use of social media by politicians and government
  2. Canadian elections results 2008 and poverty – Blog Action Day 2008
  3. Politics 2.0 – Data and research methods (and Twitter)
  4. The importance of voting in American, Canadian and Vancouver elections
  5. The game of politics in Canada, the US and the local levels

Comments (6)

buzz bishopSeptember 12th, 2008 at 9:30 am

The conversation is key. I tweeted at Gilles Duceppe this week about him only tweeting in French.

He responded, and is now doing it in both languages. As much as I hate his separatist agenda he (or his handlers) have risen in my books.

Duceppe’s use of twitter facilitates a conversation, not a broadcast.

You can see the conversation here:

Tyler IngramSeptember 12th, 2008 at 9:32 am

You realize that the ‘politicians’ could be fake people trying to create hype right?

Do people like Stephen Harper or Barack Obama really have time to use Twitter? Sure Twitter is 140 characters and can be used easily but do they _really_ use it? I don’t follow politics so I don’t really know but if could be someone in their party that uses the account for them.

I find that people like this are just jumping on the band-wagon and using it for a popularity contest. We all use twitter for the way it was intended right? To interact with people of like mind, industry etc.

With 30,000+ people following you and them all sending you @replies wouldn’t that horribly spam you to death?

It’s like email and sending email to bgates@apple.com, bill.gates@apple.com or whatever. He doesn’t answer his email he has a group of people do it for him right?

Alfred HermidaSeptember 12th, 2008 at 10:54 am

I have noticed through the UBC J-school social media election aggregator, http://netprimeminister.ca/, a lot of party messages on blogs, Twitter and Flickr.

Barbara DodukSeptember 12th, 2008 at 4:35 pm

Again, I deleted my Twitter, I just do not have the time to sit and chat online, and Twitter is pretty much like a public GTalk (AIM, YAHOO, Messenger etc…) except you get to watch conversations that you do not partake in, and read what everyone is saying on a public wall, actually it is sorta like a merge of a message board community with a chat room program or something. I lost interest in that years ago, because again, I just don’t have time to spend on socializing. I respect a lot of businesses and political people etc need to market themselves and use these social communities to do that. Like Tyler suggests, in a lot of cases it is not the actual individual unless you are talking to Wil Wheaton.

Mary-Doug WrightJanuary 11th, 2009 at 5:06 pm

I’ve been looking for presence of Canadian politicians and government agencies on Twitter for an article I’m writing with a colleague, and it’s a very sparse landscape. I see, though, that someone must have relayed your message to Elizabeth May, as she is now tweeting and following her followers – social media getting the message across!

TrevorAugust 7th, 2009 at 9:57 pm

For a full list of all Canadian Politicians on twitter visit

To encourage MP’s without Twitter to start tweeting use

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