Owning Twitter won't guarantee election success, but a strong social media presence is certainly a good way to broadcast political messages and display a little personality. This election period, Toronto's big four candidates--David Soknacki, Olivia Chow, John Tory, and Rob Ford--have all used Twitter to broadcast campaign promises, share photographs with supporters, and (occasionally) take swipes at the opposition over differing transit plans.
Here's a look at the leading candidates for Toronto mayor on Twitter.
— Soknacki Campaign (@Soknacki2014) August 26, 2014
Average daily tweets: 18
Who tweets: David Soknacki (but he likes to tweet personally from @DavidSoknacki,) Supriya Dwivedi (press secretary,) Brian Kelcey (campaign manager,) and Jonathan Scott (communications volunteer.)
Soknacki's official twitter account has recently been soliciting donations and retweeting messages of support. At their best, Team Soknacki broadcasts slick graphs and videos. Of all the candidates, Soknacki seems the most willing to engage with internet users, hosting a Reddit AMA (Ask Me Anything), responding to tweets, and even buying up domain names for people who misspell his last name. Grade: A
Thanks to @heritagetoronto for organizing the debate tonight. Conserving, promoting our city's heritage important part of mayor's job.
— Olivia Chow (@oliviachow) August 22, 2014
Average daily tweets: 7
Who tweets: Chow likes to tweet herself, though occasionally a staffer will take the controls, says Eiman Zarrug, press secretary.
Olivia Chow's campaign account benefits from a number of followers gained during its owner's stint as MP for Trinity--Spadina, giving it double the number of John Tory's account. Chow typically tweets photos of supporters and pictures from official appearances but there is little personality on display. Right now, it's all about transit maps. Grade: B
— John Tory (@johntoryTO) August 26, 2014
Average daily tweets: 9
Who tweets: The campaign declined to release detailed information related to its Twitter account, but did confirm the output comes from Tory and various volunteers.
Tory's team likes to tweet photos of supporters, transit maps, and the occasional campaign message. It's carefully curated, if a little bland and repetitive--lots of "thank-yous," "great seeing yous," and the occasional selfie. Grade: B
— Rob Ford Campaign (@2014MayorFord) August 23, 2014
Average daily tweets: 2
Who tweets: It's not clear (the campaign didn't respond to our enquiries) though it appears to be a joint effort by the campaign team. The account description implies that Ford himself has little to do with the output.
The Ford 2014 account, much like the mayor's official account over the last few years, is a mechanical mix of retweeted photos, #RespectForTaxpayers rhetoric, and campaign promises. The conversation is entirely one-sided, despite the more popular tweet attracting widespread attention, much of it negative. Grade: D
Chris Bateman is a staff writer at blogTO. Follow him on Twitter at @chrisbateman.
Photo from Oliva Chow's Flickr.
by Chris Bateman via blogTO