Alberta Politics

trial by error: political parties still learning how to use social media.

The Alberta NDP Caucus ran into some unexpected problems on Facebook late last week while trying to gain some online attention to their new Facebook Group urging Independent Edmonton-Meadowlark MLA Raj Sherman to join their two-MLA caucus. When trying to invite their supporters to the new Facebook Group, the NDP did not at first realize that a feature of the new Facebook Groups would automatically add users to the group, rather than request an invitation to join.

Another unexpected feature of the new Facebook Group sent emails to each of the almost 300 group members each time someone posted on the Group’s Wall, resulting in a slew of predictably irritable and confused responses from members who had been automatically added.

NDP Director of Outreach Rob Pearson posted an apology message to members of the Facebook Group on Friday afternoon:

I apologise for the auto-adding of members who were opposed to membership of this group. We have lost administrative power and suggest you remove yourself by clicking the “Leave Group” icon on the right side of the page.

The intent of this group was definitely not to propose to decide for you. With facebooks ever changing formats, and methods of informing people we began inviting people and soon found they were automatically subscribed. Again we apologize.

Please be patient or remove yourself if you do not approve of this current setup. A more appropriate page has been set up if you would prefer to show support via fan page.

(It is not clear why or how the NDP Caucus lost administrative control of their Facebook Group)

A final tweet from Edmonton-Calder PC MLA Doug Elniski. Thanks to @ChrisHenderson for the screenshot.

Elniski’s Final Tweet

Most politicians are eager to showcase their ability or to learn how to use social media to connect with citizens, but Edmonton-Calder PC MLA Doug Elniski quietly exited from the Twitterverse on January 13, 2011. In a final Tweet, Mr. Elniski invoked the words of writer and dramatist Douglas Adams.

The first term MLA has become known for his honesty, which has earned him a reputation for putting his foot in his mouth on more than one occasion.