Feeling Neglected, Canadian Greens Use Power of Social Media

American politics has certainly seen the power of Twitter, especially considering how President Obama’s campaign used it during his campaign. Now, the Canadian Green Party used the medium to overcome being left out of key debates and gain some exposure. CTV reports:

Word that Green party Leader Elizabeth May will not be included in the televised federal leader debates exploded on Twitter, briefly pushing out almost all other election-related chatter.

But unlike other issues, such as the coalition debate or tax breaks that are taken up online after a party announcement, this one was partly pushed forward by the Green party.

"People on Twitter are very engaged in these issues, people on Facebook and people on blogs," said Green party spokeswoman Camille Labchuk.

"Social media is really helping to push this story forward."

An analysis by The Canadian Press and digital public-affairs strategist Mark Blevis suggests that more than 1,500 messages about the Greens or Elizabeth May have been sent in less than 12 hours.

Before Tuesday night, there were fewer than 500 a day abut the Greens or May.

"What you really need is a good issue and people to get excited about it to drive the traffic," said Blevis.

As soon as the decision that May was being kept out of the debate became public, Green party activists headed to Twitter, signalling that those interested in the issue should use a particular hashtag to signal their support.

Fourteen minutes later, they realized the chosen tag was too long, switched it, and the newly chosen tag dominated the conversation for the rest of the evening.

In total, around 800 messages were sent in less than 12 hours with the #emayin tag saying that May should have a role at the debate.

Sixty per cent of the messages sent were from people just re-tweeting posts about the issue, suggesting a small core of people are responsible for the majority of the traffic.