Here we go again, Canada is heading to the polls on May 2 – our 4th election in the past 7 years.  The only thing excellent about this track record of fallen minority governments is that party finances are getting tapped and they need to explore new ways to campaign.  That means social media is about to get even more important this time round.

Here are the tools you can use to get engaged.

politwitter.jpgThe CBC has a great Vote Compass tool on their website that asks you questions based on the issues, how you feel about the parties and candidates and then places your X on the political spectrum.  It’s a great way to see how you fit in with each of the political parties.

Twitter has been used by the leaders before, but it was mostly a broadcast medium, this time there is engagement.  The leaders (or their team tweeting for them) are answering tweets from regular people while on the campaign trail.  I had an exchange with Michael Ignatieff the day the writ was dropped, Stephen Harper was also answering tweets.

Here are the accounts of the federal leaders and their parties.

Stephen Harper @pmhaper – Conservative Party of Canada
Michael Ignatieff @m_ignatieff – Liberal Party of Canada @liberal_party
Jack Layton @jacklayton –  NDP
Gilles Duceppe @gillesduceppe – Bloc Quebecois
Elizabeth May @elizabethmay – Green Party of Canada @canadiangreens

You can also follow the discussion by all Canadians on Twitter by monitoring the hashtags #cdnpoli and #elxn41.

2011-03-23-App-Badge-310h-EN.jpgIn the past elections, it has been the NDP that were quick to mobilize to social media.  They appreciated you need to give the online campaign over to your fans and hand them the tools to spread the message.  And they’re doing it again – on the opening day of the campaign they had an app. (The only party to be in the App Store)

The tools the Greens bring out will be interesting to watch as Elizabeth May, in her opening speech, laid the groundwork for a social media campaign because the party is not as flush with green as the others.

We do have election fatigue in Canada, it’s true.  This election came from seemingly out of nowhere and there is no lightning rod issue to polarize the electorate.  But still, we have a choice.  Thousands are marching and dying on the streets of Egypt, Syria, Yemen, Tunisia and Libya to have that choice.  Our best way of honouring their plea is to respect our right and exercise it.

catch the buzz … pass it on.

buzz bishop future shop tech blogThis post was originally published at The Future Shop Tech Blog.

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