This post was written as part of my coverage of the NDP Leadership Convention for

Hands down, the most active and engaged of the Facebook campaigns by any of the NDP leadership candidates was run by Nathan Cullen and his team. Well, “run” is the probably the wrong word for it. Run has a task-oriented connotation. Cullen’s camp turned this digital property into a gathering place where all participants could interact among themselves and with the campaign. Nathan and his team returned the favour by doing more than just pumping out messages and content. They answered questions and responded to comments. True social media.

In the last 21 days of the leadership campaign (up to and including yesterday), Nathan’s page became home to more than 500 posts with an average of 3.6 comments per post. They attracted 1,805 comments and 6,920 likes during that period.

Niki Ashton was also a participant in her own Facebook community, though not to the same extent as Nathan. During the same period, Niki contributed a handful of the 50 comments on her page’s 78 posts, an average of 0.6 comments and 3.2 likes per post. Like Nathan, Niki responded to comments and questions.

In one case I’ve been following closely, a new voting member of the NDP (joined during the recent pre-convention membership push) posted the same question to the Facebook Fan Pages of all the remaining candidates in an effort to help him make a voting decision. Nathan and Niki were the only candidates to respond in the comments to the post — publicly, that is. I understand Martin Singh contacted the member over email. None of the remaining candidates acknowledged the question, costing them a potential voter.

Joe Cressy of the Paul Dewar camp informed me during an interview that their team had a workflow which involved identifying the comment/question, checking the commenter’s name against the NDP database and then contacting them over the phone. The flow, while effective in a traditional model, overlooks the very public perception of apathy or absence. I have confirmed with the member in question that this offline contact did not take place.

Some of the remaining candidates enjoyed a respectable amount of activity over the last 21 days of the campaign even if their own role was that drawing out a chorus of support. Appearances suggest they did not actively harness the energy of their respective Facebook communities.

Here are the stats for the remainder of the candidates in the field entering the convention:

  • Peggy Nash: 108 wall posts, 48 comments (average 4.5 comments and 37.8 likes per post)
  • Thomas Mulcair: 186 wall posts, 302 comments (average 1.6 comments and 6.8 likes per post). Added problem of a significant number of critical posts and comments from one individual.
  • Paul Dewar: 170 wall posts, 205 comments (average 1.2 comments and 11.6 likes per post)
  • Brian Topp: 76 wall posts, 48 comments (average 0.6 comments and 4.7 likes per post)
  • Martin Singh: 33 wall posts, 20 comments (average 0.6 comments and 2.2 likes per post)

Analysis performed using Sysomos MAP.