Posted by: Ian Ross | January 19, 2008

Liberals are becoming open (face)books online

It would appear that many members of Canada’s Liberal party are ready to face(book) the facts about social media.

Many of the party’s key players have active profiles on Facebook. A vital tool to reach out to seven million Canadians (and still growing). This is a sharp contrast to Conservative party members who are avoiding Facebook and many other social media opportunities (see previous post).

Liberal leader Stephane Dion has 10,332 supporters registered onto his  ‘politican’ page (January 18). Fifty percent more than Prime Minister Stephen Harper. Dion also has 2,701 posts compared to the PM’s 221. This is likely because Dion actually responds to posted Facebook questions through YouTube videos on his site. Although not the most inspiring or exciting videos, this is a good example of a politican using social media as a two-way communication tool with potential voters.

Other Liberal notables who also have ‘politican’ Facebook pages with plenty of supporters – Carolyn Bennett (991 supporters), Michael Ignatieff (8,560), Ralph Goodale (423) and Scott Brison (1,480).

Then there are the hopeful Liberals. Martha Hall Finlay is currently running in Toronto’s Willowdale by-election and has 406 supporters so far on her politician page.

Interestingly, Bob Rae (former Ontario NDP Premier, recent second runner-up to the federal Liberal leader crown and current by-election candidate in Toronto Centre) has decided to keep a personal Facebook page open to the public. Today, he has 2,395 friends, updated his profile picture and arrived back in Toronto (according to his ‘Bob is’ status box). You can also play him in a game of Scrabulous. And he has a pretty active blog off his election website. Overall, Rae seems one of the most active and exciting politicians using social media at the moment.

Justin Trudeau is another wannabe Liberal MPP who has a big Facebook following with 5,689 supporters and 236 posts. He’s also posted some hilarious Mac-inspired political YouTube commercials. And he hasn’t even hit the official hustings yet.

Finally, the big surprise is the man who Trudeau introduced at the Liberal leadership convention – Gerard Kennedy. He’s didn’t win the leadership (finished fourth) but still plans to run in the next election. And no Facebook page. Very strange for someone youthful and focused on grassroots politics.

Overall, the Liberal politicans aren’t exactly titans of social media, but at least they are in the Facebook game and giving it a sporting chance.


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