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Recovering backpacker, Cornwallite at heart, political enthusiast, catalyst, writer, husband, father, community volunteer, unabashedly proud Canadian. Every hyperlink connects to something related directly or thematically to that which is highlighted.

Wednesday 17 April 2013

Political Murmurations in Social Media

Two stories playing out on Twitter right now that have caught my attention:
Eric Dillane‏@Tor_Grit17m
people have been tweeting about it from around the city tonight. Asking about a # of councillors.
- Porter Airlines (or someone that supports them) has paid for a push-poll with leading questions along these lines: "The planes Porter wants to use are so quiet, they're known as whisper planes.  Would you oppose to Porter using such planes?"
They also have questions about the listener's impression of councilors (I suspect what the pollers have in their database as the call-recipient's sitting councilor).  It's a pretty transparent attempt to manipulate callers and also mine data on how to push councilors into voting favourably.
Given all the attention robocalls have gotten of late, a large percentage of receivers are wise to the game and pretty annoyed with it - so much so that they're taking to Twitter to comment about how blatant the poll is.  There's strength in numbers - when you feel you're being manipulated and know you've got a crowd with you to stand against the manipulator, what's the impact on the manipulation?
Story number two:
André Picard‏@picardonhealth3h
The Tories did their thing and unleashed an attack ad against Justin Trudeau moments after he was declared the new Leader of the Liberal Party of Canada.  They used footage of Trudeau participating in a Canadian Liver Foundation fundraiser where he "stripped" - down to his undershirt.  Hardly shocking in the scheme of things, but the CPC are never ones to worry about context
Team Trudeau, however, did something the CPC weren't prepared for:
P.S. I raised a bit of money for the Liver Foundation but I bet we could raise more if you made a donation too.
In an email out to his membership, Trudeau used the attack as a way to promote donations for the Liver Foundation.
It worked - the Foundation has seen a spike in donations thanks to that letter.  The end beneficiaries are happy, the LPC membership gets a laugh and feels like they've contributed to something positive and the Liver Foundation people are gonna be that much more favourable to Trudeau as a result.  By pulling the team together and giving their attention a positive outlet, Trudeau has reinforced his message and mitigated the impact of the attack, leaving the CPC a confused predator unsure of where to strike next.  He's also demonstrated the kind of leadership he stands for - always finding a way to create wins for the people.
If Trudeau's people are smart - and they are - they'll keep this trend up and judo-flip every attack on their man by oppositional parties into a chance to build Trudeau's brand.
Rapid-fire social media has changed the game; while the masters of yesterdays tricks try to use a tablet like a desktop, tomorrow's leaders are figuring out how to maximize the inherent potential of these new tools. 
As with all communications innovations, the aggregate impact of social media is an increasingly pro-social one; society becomes more integrated, collaborative and collectively strong.  Predators lose their teeth as weak links stop being left behind.  As for the Conservatives - the next gen of successful Tories will be a tad more liberal than their predecessors.  It's how social evolution works.

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