Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Why don't our leaders Twitter?

Feeling a bit lost lately, hopefully others can shine a light on what is going on.

Here is my personal journey to twitter and how it became a core part of my Personal Learning Network (PLN).  I was introduced to it by Brian Kuhn and Chris Kennedy.  Like many, I didn't get it at first and didn't even get an account, sticking to social networking in Facebook.  It was the star power and dynamic social energy of Barack Obama that hooked me to twitter.  He now has almost a million followers.  The idea that a major politician would talk directly to me was electrifying.  I was thrilled to learn about the views of a politician without having the filter of the media.  Don't get me wrong, I'm an avid newsreader however, it was the idea of having a direct, first-person connection that drew me to the free social network that twitter provides.

Here is my current conundrum.  We are in the midst of a provincial election and there seems to be a void in social networks and direct connections being put out by our would-be political leaders.  Not only that but the president of the NDP is now telling me that I don't know about facebook (see Globe and Mail article).  Comments like that seems to tell me that the party isn't serious about reaching out to the socially connected, and might I suggest, younger generation.

I've been looking for the candidates.  Take for example Ray Lam who has now resigned due to his inappropriate photos on facebook (see CBC article).  While he is clearly active on facebook, a twitter search turned up nothing.  My local riding candidates are Ian Black and Shannon Watkins.  Here are links to the public sites that I could find:  Traditional Website (Shannon, Ian) Facebook (Ian has a link to Gordon Cambell), LinkedIn (Shannon, Ian), Twitter (nothing, note that Ian had a link to Twitter on his site but it lead me to the Liberal leader, Gordon Campbell).  The standard webpage that the NDP party is using has a lot to be desired, at least the leader, Carole James is on Twitter and currently has about 1200 followers. However on the NDP party site, there isn't even a mention of social networks like twitter, facebook or YouTube.  Looks like the Liberal party is at least aware of these environments.

What do others think?  Does it matter that our political leaders aren't part of social digital networks?  Post a comment here or tweet me at: http://twitter.com/jmcconville1000

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