When Jack Layton described Stephen Harper’s approach to democracy as a “hashtag fail” in the English-language leaders’ debate, he brought the language of Twitter to the campaign trail in a big way. If a Facebook page is the 21st century Political Rally, then the 140-character Tweet is the 21st century sound-bite, and everyone’s using it.
Actually, a “hashtag” is a unique identifier which groups different tweets about the same subject in one place, where they can be easily followed. We created a hashtag for CARP members in this federal election;” #CARPvotes”. Every tweet from a member, or which refers to CARP issues and uses this hashtag can be found in one place on the Twitter stream. Let’s look at a sample:
– Watching #CARPVotes debate: Once again @BobRae proves he should be Liberal leader #Elxn41 #cdnpoli
– Also, #CARPVotes debate is better produced than the #CBC #db8 last night.
– Missed #CARPVotes #Elxn41 Debates? Here’s a feisty senior’s take on #CPC
Guaranteed Income Supplement Plan: http://bit.ly/eULgZa #cdnpoli
These tweets were sent during the CARP Debate™ on Wednesday, April 13. Members were watching, tweeting and communicating with each other. By the way, the other hashtags you see above refer to Election 41 (#elxn41) and Canadian Politics (#cdnpoli).
We were also using Twitter to get out our poll results in real time, as soon as we had them:
– CARP Poll™, April 12, n=1700, MoE +/-2.4%, #CPC 44%, #LPC 42%, #NDP 10%, #GPC 4% #elxn41 #cdnpoli #CARPvotes #db8
This way, journalists and the media were getting our latest data before even a press release would reach them. And all journalists monitor and post on Twitter:
– The demographic EVERYONE is after in #elxn41 RT @CorComm CARP Poll™ #CPC & #LPC tied for preference among CARP members #CARPvotes #cdnpoli 12 Apr
The media has described this as the Twitter Election. Events happen so fast, and are reported so fast, and forgotten so fast, that only Twitter is fast enough to keep up, and CARP is keeping up with Twitter.
Keywords: election, social media