Thursday, July 9, 2009

Harper a Twitter heavy hitter but Facebook more Jiggy with Iggy

Barrack Obama's winning presidential campaign demonstrated the potential for the Internet and social networking sites to connect with the electorate, bypassing more traditional media and delivering the candidate's message directly to voters. Obama had more than one million fans on facebook and an equal number following his tweets on twitter.

I thought I'd check on the status of Canada's federal leaders to see how they're stacking up to one another. But with sincere apologies to Messieurs Layton and Ducette as well as to Elizabeth May, the real heavyweights are Ignatieff and Harper.

On Twitter Stephen Harper is far ahead of his rivals with over 16,000 followers. Micheal Ignatieff lags well behind with just under 10,000. Both have alternate names for tweeting in French, with Harper's having just over 500 followers and Iggy at 178. Jack Layton isn't doing too bad comparatively speaking at over 8,600, Gilles Duceppe is just shy of 2,000 (he only tweets en Francais) and Elizabeth May has almost 4,400.

It strikes me that those numbers are actually pretty reflective of the make up of our current parliament...Green leader 'Liz May's numbers notwithstanding.

Facebook, on the other hand, provides a different picture. All the party leaders have fan or supporter pages, like followers on twitter, but on Facebook its Jack Layton with a slim advantage over Harper's 27,300 supporters. The NDP leader's numbers come in slightly higher at just over 27,800. Both are well out in front of Iggy who has a bit more than 15,300. Elizabeth May has just over 6,000, while Gilles Duceppe comes it at about 3,700.

Obviously Iggy, with the least amount of time in at the helm of his party, has a bit of catching up to do in the facebook world. But where you see a real divergence is in the Groups spawned by Ignatieff as compared to those about Harper.

Facebook shows 117 groups listed for Michael Ignatieff, and while there are a few of the requisite "Michael Ignatieff Sucks" variety, the overwhelming majority are supportive. He has a group support pages for individual provinces: BC, NS, Saskatchewan, Quebec...even my own Durham Region has a support page with 65 members.

The Prime Minister by contrast has over 500 groups listed in a search of his name...with many of them strongly Anti-Harper in tone. Canadians United Against Stephen Harper has over 21,000 members, and Stephen Harper Sucks rings in at 328. There's a group of 186 that want Mr. Harper arrested, and another group of 50 highlighting the Calgary MP's lies.

Screw Stephen Harper, Stop Stephen Harper, People Against Stephen Harper...even Stephen Harper Eats Babies.

The degree of animosity generated toward Stephen Harper is off the charts compared to any of the other leaders. Jack Layton has 259 groups, almost all supportive. And the Bloc's Giles Duceppe has 44. A search of Elizabeth May forced me to add the word Green because her name is so common, it came up with 82...again mostly supportive. There is a group entitled 'Elizabeth May has got to go', but it only has 1 member.

What does all this mean? Not much really, its probably as significant as a pocketed communion wafer. The real fun will start when the next election writ is dropped.

They all blow my twitter numbers away, canukgord is followed by a paltry 33 users, and there are no fan or supporter pages for this blogger. But if anyone wants to start a 'Gordie Canuk Sucks' page on Facebook I wouldn't be upset, that's when I'll know I've truly arrived. But please no groups saying I eat babies, that would hurt.

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