Tag Archives: Dj Kelly

twitter is not question period.

I had an interesting exchange on Twitter this afternoon with Brian Mason, leader of Alberta’s NDP and MLA for Edmonton-Highlands-Norwood. After discovering his new blog this weekend, I posted a link on Twitter and noted the irony in Mr. Mason’s new social media presence following criticisms he made about the Alberta Party‘s focus on social media (it also seems silly to me that the leader of the fourth largest party would spend time criticizing the fifth largest party).

My tweet was only intended as a passing comment and in hindsight I should have known that it might be interpreted differently. Here is a thread of the main conversation (see here for more):

@davcournoyer: After criticizing the @AlbertaParty for focusing on social media, NDP leader Brian Mason has started a blog: http://is.gd/LQgPdv #ableg

@bmasonndp: @davecournoyer @AlbertaParty Didn’t say that, as you well know. #ABLEG

@davecournoyer: @bmasonNDP I’m glad that you are joining the broader conversation, but you can’t deny your previous comments about social media. #ableg

@davecournoyer: @bmasonNDP “The Alberta Party is selling snake oil via social media,” #ableg

@davecournoyer: @bmasonNDP “Some of them think they can Tweet their way into power.” #ableg

@davecournoyer: @bmasonNDP Your past comments aside, I’m glad that you’re starting the blog and look forward to some interesting “insider” posts. #ableg

@bmasonndp: @davecournoyer Let’s be clear: comments were about the AB Party & its use of SM, NOT about the utility of SM itself. #ABLEG

@bmasonndp: @davecournoyer Dave, if you delivered your message via pony express, it would still be snake oil.

@davecournoyer: @bmasonNDP I’m not sure you can tweet your way out of this one. Previous comments were cheap shot soundbites, at least admit that. #ableg

@bmasonndp: @davecournoyer One party’s “cheap shot” is another party’s “clever one-liner” Dave. Point is, they were shots at AB party, not at SM. #ableg

@djkelly: @bmasonNDP How does berating @davecournoyer via twitter earn you votes? I voted NDP last time. Seriously rethinking now.

@denny1h: @djkelly so when @davecournoyer or anyone makes false or misleading statements in a public forum @bmasonndp should ignore them?

@djkelly: @denny1h Heck no. He should politely refute him. Why stoop?@davecournoyer @bmasonndp

@davecournoyer: @djkelly @denny1h I don’t take offence from @bmasonndp‘s response. For politicians used to QP, it might take a bit to get used to Twitter.

@djkelly: @davecournoyer Yes, twitter is not QP. It’s more like a town hall. Have to behave differently in the two. Ditto here. @denny1h @bmasonndp

In 2009, Harvard Law Professor Jonathan Zittrain gave one the  best descriptions of Twitter that I have read: “The qualities that make Twitter seem inane and half-baked are what makes it so powerful.” So true.

Although the NDP Caucus have been using social media as part of their communications for a few years now, Twitter is a different medium than most politicians are accustomed to.

While many Alberta Party supporters have become passionate Tweeters, for many of them it is the time they have been involved in a political party and some of them easily take offence to such criticisms. They should not. They should learn from them and move on.

As @DJKelly mentioned in his tweet, Twitter is more like a Town Hall. The interaction on Twitter are less useful when focused on partisan and soundbite-filled confrontation encouraged in traditional political institutions like Question Period, and more useful when focused on actual collaboration and discussion. In my mind, this is one of the qualities that makes social media much more engaging and useful than some of our traditional political institutions.

It has been my experience that in order to fully understand Twitter, it is best to use it for a while. @Nenshi@DonIveson@MinisterJono, and @GriffMLA are four good examples of elected officials in our province who have demonstrated that they understand how to use the medium.

At the first Changecamp Edmonton event in October 2009, the question was asked: How do we re-imagine government and citizenship in the age of participation? At the time, Justin Archer wrote a great column about why this question is critically important and why it is important to re-think our government systems in order to ensure that they are still relevant for us.

Many of the discussions that I had with participants at Changecamp Edmonton and the many friendships that I developed at of that event helped reshape how I view politics and political engagement today. This includes how social media can be used to engage with our elected officials and government leaders.

Today’s exchange may not be exactly what I had in mind when I think of the ideas discussed at Changecamp, but it did teach me a lesson about how to engage with elected officials new to social media. I hope that even after his 22 years in politics, that Mr. Mason will learn and grow from his social media experiences as well.

choosing a new captain of the mothership.


Happier times in the PC Caucus when Ted Morton and Dave Hancock held hands and sang Kumbaya.

Former Finance Minister Ted Morton believes that he is the best person to bring conservatives back to the PC “mothership,” but that is not stopping the speculation of who will challenge him in the contest to fill his party’s top job.

Stelmach’s McGarry
Rarely in the spotlight, Premier Ed Stelmach‘s Chief of Staff Ron Glen spoke with the Calgary Herald about his boss’ resignation announcement and the politics of the past week.

Vote a vote for Jim in 2011?
Completely ruling out returning to politics when asked last Tuesday, former Finance Minister and 2006 PC leadership contest front-runner Jim Dinning was less committal later in the week. Many Tories I have spoken with in the past week tell me that while they would love Mr. Dinning to return to politics, that they believe it is unlikely that the University of Calgary Chancellor will seek his party’s leadership.

Two more candidates?
Edmonton-Leduc Conservative MP James Rajotte is said to be considering a bid for the PC leadership. First elected as a Canadian Alliance MP for Edmonton-Southwest in 2000, Mr. Rajotte . He was the Ottawa roommate of Rahim Jaffer in the 1990s, when he worked as the legislative assistant for Edmonton-Strathcona MP Hugh Hanrahan and Surrey-North MP Margaret Bridgeman, and later as executive assistant to Edmonton MP Ian McClelland. Mr. Rajotte is currently the chair of the House of Commons Standing Committee on Finance.

First elected as the MLA for Edmonton-Whitemud in 1997, Minister Dave Hancock placed fifth out of eight candidates with 7,595 votes on the first ballot of his party’s 2006 leadership contest. He endorsed Premier Stelmach on the second ballot. Minister Hancock has served as Minister of Justice, Health, Advanced Education, and Education (among others) and has been a PC Party insider since serving as Youth President in the 1970s.

In his current role as Education Minister, Hancock encouraged Trustees, parents, administrators, and others to think big about the future of the education system. This process had encouraged good among education system participants until recently, when the government attempted to renegotiate an already agreed upon contract with Alberta’s teachers.

The right time for Griffiths?
A leadership bid by Battle River-Wainwright MLA Doug Griffiths is not only gaining support in internet polls. Metro Calgary columnist DJ Kelly wrote a column last week suggesting that the outspoken and insightful Mr. Griffiths might be the best candidate for the job.

Benitomania or Benitolution?
Tongue in cheek campaign or the next big political shift? Paula Simons examines the political career of Edmonton-Mill Woods PC MLA Carl Benito and the recent online chatter about him.

the facebook campaign.

Earlier this week I joined Calgary blogger DJ Kelly on CBC Radio’s alberta@noon province-wide call-in show to talk about social media and the upcoming municipal elections. Over the course of the show we had a good discussion about how the Internet is changing how voters seek information about candidates and how social media tools are increasing the ability of candidates to communicate and engage with voters. As I have previously written, while social media tools are too important for a serious candidate to ignore, they do not replace the kind of human contact that is achieved through traditional campaigning, such as door-knocking.

DJ’s most recent blog post used Facebook followings to gauge the support for candidates in Calgary’s competitive Mayoral election. It might not be scientific but the analysis is curiously similar to a recently released poll. The race for Mayor of Edmonton has so far been a lot less exciting than the crowded field of 17 candidates in Calgary. On the Facebook front, Mayor Stephen Mandel is absent. Challengers Daryl Bonar‘s Facebook Page has 483 followers and Dan Dromarsky‘s page has attracted 349 (with a lofty goal of 75,000).

Looking at City Council races, Councillor Amarjeet Sohi appears to be leading the pack with 503 members in his Facebook group. Following Councillor Sohi’s lead are Ward 11 candidate Vishal Luthra‘s group with 503 members, Ward 7 candidate Brendan Van Alstine‘s group with 291 members, and Ward 11’s Kerry Diotte with 229 members.

Online and on the streets, the Public School Trustee elections are looking like they might be some of October’s most competitive races. The two leaders on the Facebook campaign appear to be Ward F candidate Michael Janz with 717 fans and Ward G candidate Sarah Hoffman‘s group with 769 members. If previous elections are an indicator, these numbers could signal an incredible jump in interest in the School Board elections. Links to more School Board candidates websites and Facebook Pages can be found on the ARTES website.

As the October 18 election day approaches, I will be following and writing more about how candidates are using social media in their campaigns.

This post was cross-posted at EdmontonPolitics.com.