Forget door-knocking and kissing babies, as Canadian politicians LOL with a mutating demographic of techno-savvy potential voters on Twitter.
The social networking phenomenon has exploded since its launch in 2006, and now has a reported seven million users.
Politicians at the municipal, provincial and federal level are tweeting on a daily basis, reaching a subculture that may not receive political influence otherwise.
“It shows that governments are in the know, connected and paying attention to what people are passionate about,” said Edmonton tech guru Mack Male (@mastermaq). “Right now, young people seem to be big on Twitter.”
Premier Ed Stelmach has a page (@premierstelmach), on which he and his staffers are followed by about 400 users.
Stelmach is becoming increasingly plugged-in, posting some of his own updates on speeches, trips he has taken overseas and responses to heated provincial decisions.
“The premier is very interested, is very open-minded and wants know about new developments on this area of social media,” said spokesman Tom Olsen. “It’s a quick way to get information out.”
The youngest member of Edmonton city council, 29-year-old Coun. Don Iveson (@doniveson), said using Twitter and social networking sites could be the next logical step for politicians keeping pace with the new millennium.
“I don’t care what people are having for lunch, and I’m not following those people,” Iveson said. “But I’m really interested in what people involved in other municipalities are doing.”
Even Prime Minister Stephen Harper (@pmharper) has jumped aboard the information superbandwagon. He’s followed by, and is following, more than 9,000 users.
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