Manitoba candidates jump on the social media bandwagon

Originally published by Global News on March 29th, 2011. To go to the Global News website please click here

Love them or hate them, social media networks like Facebook and Twitter are invaluable tools when it comes to sharing information. And for the first time ever, Canada’s federal elections are being brought to you in real-time. Whether it’s a tweet about the Prime Minister coming to town, or a gaffe by a local candidate that’s caught on tape, voters can find the latest campaign info online.

The buzz on Twitter Tuesday morning was all about one comment made by Conservative candidate Shelly Glover about 68-year-old Liberal candidate Anita Neville during an interview with Global News on Monday night. Glover said Neville “has passed her expiry date.”

Glover maintains she was only commenting on Neville’s record as a long-time MP, not insinuating anything about her age. Still, Neville wasted no time firing back on Twitter account, Tweeting this just an hour before Global News’ evening broadcast:

“Childish Conservative name-calling has already begun! Shelley Glover has jumped into the gutter.#cdnpoli #elxn41 #mbpoli.”

Neville followed up early Tuesday morning with this Tweet, noting Glover’s absence from the Twitter-verse. “Glover owes all seniors an apology. But don’t expect her to tweet about it…isn’t this the social media election? #cdnpoli #exln41 #mbpoli.”

Media experts say that social networking could help reel in more voters for this election. “Anita Neville’s decision to Tweet it right away is interesting. It’s effective and it’s another way of getting the story going,” said Shannon Sampert, Political Analyst and media expert from the University of Winnipeg.

Out of a list of 30 local candidates, approximately 15 have active Twitter accounts. Liberal candidate in the St. Boniface riding, Raymond Simard, uses social networking, but has also adopted other tech tools into this election: this time around, his campaign workers are using an iPhone and iPod application to help them canvas their riding.

“It’s to replace the long list of addresses that we used to have with us. There was a ton of paper that we’d have to produce, so now we don’t have to do that anymore,” Simard said.

Twitter has also proven to be a time-saving tool for many local candidates.

“(Writing a press release) can take a lot of time, whereas when I’m limited to 140 characters, I get something like for instance, when the Prime Minister is visiting Winnipeg, we can simply put it up quickly,” explained Rod Bruinooge, the Conservative candidate for Winnipeg South.

© Global News

Keywords: social media, election, seniors