The Use of Twitter by Political Parties

13 Mar

Early October last year, Maclean’s was crowning Quebec as the most corrupt province in Canada. Numerous scandals had stained the Belle Province’s reputation in the past decades. Corruption and lack of transparency were amongst the allegations made against it.

In an effort to connect with the Quebecers, political parties – who are usually late comers – have started blogging, tweeting and facebooking. It is now well know that Social Medias are a powerful promotional tool and Barack Obama’s success story might have inspired many politicians to start using Web 2.0 to promote themselves or their party.

But maybe Liberal Party of Quebec members should have read this paper from Texas University researchers before establishing their Social Media Strategy. A Radio-Canada’s investigation revealed last week that some Twitter accounts that were very supportive of the Liberal Party actually belong to members or supporters of the party but used nicknames like @Falalalalaaaa, @Cest_un_fait and @acontrecourant. Journalists were able to link the tweets back to QLP’s server.

Anonym on the web, possible?

Being completely anonymous on the Web is thing of the past.  As ars technica posted on their blog, it’s useful to remember just how far your data trail extends behind you on the Internet… and just how well determined researchers can follow the digital bread crumbs.

Radio-Canada’s journalist didn’t dig deep to figure out the Twitter accounts were coming from the PLQ’s server. But even if members had been careful enough not to use it, it would have been possible to link the accounts back to the Party.

Political parties’ authenticity, utopia?

The use of Social Media was in itself a great idea to reach the voters. But using anonymous accounts to simulate greater support to the government, no so great.

People are on Twitter to engage with brands and companies but in order to filter the information they find; they need to know who they are talking to. And trying to fool them won’t help.

As a citizen, what do you think? Is the PLQ strategy OK or revolting?

3 Réponses to “The Use of Twitter by Political Parties”

  1. mathieu Bertrand 14 mars 2011 à 02:41 #

    The fact that politicians are now trying to connect with people through the use of Social Medias is only further proof of how disconnected from the political realm the average person has become. In fact, the many political commercials we see on TV as well as the trivial debates are all the result of an uninterested and cynical population.

    It seems to me that this strategy is only a pathetic attempt to appeal to the population. So to ask the question if the strategy is revolting or not is more or less relevant as it is only a symptom of our state of mind.

    However, this growing cynicism towards the political class which results in a disengagement of our youth from socio-political debates is not without a cause. But it seems to me that what is really revolting is the fact that so many people are politically and economically oblivious.

    If people were more concerned about what is happening in our society and less focused on the next iPad features, the politicians would not even have to go on the Social Medias or at least the reasons of their presence would be different.

    • mathieu Bertrand 14 mars 2011 à 16:43 #

      Oh…you are absolutely right!

    • Isabelle 14 mars 2011 à 18:06 #

      Thank you for your comment Mathieu.

      I think Social Medias are a must for political parties. Obama’s campaign was a great success because his team understood well how to leverage from 2.0 platforms.

      However, PLQ’s usage of Twitter was against all the new Medias’ rules. To be on those platforms is to accept your brand or party will be both endorsed and criticized. Faking supportive comments won’t help when people will figure out it’s a scam. Remember the consumers’ reactions when it was revealed that Bixi’s bloggers were actually hired by a PR firm?

      If politicians want to connect with citizens, they’ll have to get more interactive on Internet. But they’ll have to do it our way. Ethics and transparency are key words for Social Media success. Two things politicians don’t seem to have these days…

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