#ArtsVoteCan: How Politicians are using Social Media

I‘ve been asked to do a series of guest blog posts for Canada Arts Connect on the election, and specifically, how it pertains to and affects artists.

After repurposing the post I wrote a couple of weeks back for my own blog, I decided my second post would be a comparison of the top four political parties’ arts platforms. I basically already had this information in hand: a friend of mine from Toronto had already sent it to me. But I decided it would make a fun experiment if I played dumb and did a little social media experiment.

I’ll get back to that in a sec, but first, a tiny bit of back story.

I may be in love with George Stromolopolis. In case you haven’t heard, smart is sexy, and Stromo has smart in spades. He was recently in “VanHattan” taping a couple episodes of his show, and I tuned in on April 11. You can watch it here. Taped the night before the English Language Debate, I was struck by what Strombo said about them and the incredibly low engagement:

Is it that the Canadian population is lazy and don’t engage in politics? Or is it that the debates suck? It’s probably both. Part of the problem is, the leaders just all want to stay on message. THat’s the reason why certain politicians will only take five questions. They only want to stay on message. It’s smart, politically, but terrible for democracy, becuause there’s no real exchange of ideas. We don’t actually know what anybody’s about.

That got me to thinking. I preach the gospel of social media in my work every day: and social media is based on the tenents of engagement and transparency. I think as a culture, as a society, we are tired of hearing the carefully rehearsed talking points. Like advertisements, we don’t truly believe them. Yeah, they’re slick, they’re well thought out and carefully delivered. But a little “realness” could go a long way towards one of the leaders really coming out ahead. And I’m not talking about carefully planned and choreographed “realness” (ie: shaking hands and kissing babies).

It feels like politicians don’t “get” this. So I thought I’d do a little social media experiment. If social media is about transparency, openness and creating engagement, and all of the politicians are on social media, then are they using it for engaging?

I sent a similar tweet to each of the leaders of the four parties:

I got one answer.

It makes me sad. These people have at their disposal, what is likely of the greatest communication tool ever, and they aren’t using it to its full advantage.

You can read my post comparing the four parties’ arts platforms here.


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Rebecca Coleman

Social Media Marketing Strategist, Blogger, Author, Teacher, Trainer. Passionate foodie, mom to Michael, fueled by Americanos. I love my bike. Soon-to-be cookbook author. Localvore with a wanderlust.

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