I write about digital strategies and communications — and their intersection with culture, politics, journalism and social activism.


Victorious Warriors Win First


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So what about political campaigns and social media? 

A Pew study about the 2014 US mid-term elections released a few days ago found a significant increase in the use of cell phones and social media to track news about the campaign and to get a better read on the candidates.

Of particular note:

Further, the number of Americans who follow candidates or other political figures on social media has also risen sharply: 16% of registered voters now do this, up from 6% in 2010...Voters from both parties place a similar emphasis on the deeper connections that social media allows them to form with the candidates they support.

I've come across no similar study of the recent municipal elections in Toronto, Ontario. But as someone who watches such trends fairly closely, I can say it won't go down as a watershed moment for social media and politics in the city.

The mayoral candidates had their websites and obligatory presence on Facebook to post pics of the candidate hugging voters, preferably multi-cultural and gender-balanced. Twitter was less prominent, and used primarily to link people to position papers or announce the candidate's schedule.

But nothing stood out to me that recognizes what the Pew findings are saying about how millenials—Canadians are likely no different than Americans in this regard—and others involve themselves in politics and election campaigns.

I get the sense that in Canada—with a few notable exceptions—politicians cede digital politics and online campaigning to activists. If you're an activist, this is good news. But if you're a politician or campaigner you might remember what Sun Tzu said:

Victorious warriors win first and then go to war, while defeated warriors go to war first and then seek to win.

The battleground today is just different.


Bad Reviews Online — Stay Cool

Photo by Miroslav Vajdic Attributon-ShareAlike license

I was quoted this week in a Canadian Business magazine article called 'The Taming of the troll; Everyone's a critic, especially online. So what's the best way to deal with bad reviews?' by Deborah Aarts. The article is only in print at the moment. But here's a link to the publication's home page in case it gets posted in the future.

My advice, among much else that of course didn't make it into the article, was essentially to stay cool.

"Never react to a bad review with anger or emotion. If you attack your critics online, they'll just attack back-and they'll almost always win. It's preferable to respond with accountability. Also, if the situation is appropriate and if your company is comfortable with it, a sense of humour can be a marvellous way to respond to critics. Research shows that humour is one of the key drivers of virality on the web. People love it."

Any disagreements?

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