Reaching voters the social media way
Knock, knock. Who’s there? With the provincial election only days away, chances are it’s a candidate looking for votes.
The political game is undoubtedly changing with the advancements in social media, but how much of an impact can it have? Does being able to reach hundreds of people with one message change campaign strategy?
“To be honest, I thought it would play a much bigger role,” said Mark Cripps, Liberal candidate for Hamilton-East Stoney Creek. “We saw a real ground-swell of social media in terms of the federal election, but for some reason I just don’t see it this time around.”
Cripps did say that social media has helped him answer questions from constituents.
Dr. Christopher Waddell, Associate Director of Carleton University’s School of Journalism and an expert in election campaigns and coverage, shares the same sentiment as Cripps.
“There’s not a lot of evidence to say that social media has an impact on how people vote,” Waddell said. “Political parties and candidates tend to use it as another means to broadcast information to people. They don’t use it in a way to engage in discussion or debate.”
However, some voters believe different than the doctor and politician.
“Social media has an impact on everything, it’s ubiquitous in our society,” said Noah Salo. “The main question is how the candidates will translate their social media presence into votes, especially with the younger population.”
“I think it’s going to have a big impact on the election,” said Andrew Roebuck, a student at Mohawk College. “A lot of what people do, and what they take from each other, come from places like Facebook and Twitter.”