I’ll be a guest of Battleground today. It’s my first time being an interview/conversation guest of David Akin. He invited me to expand on a conversation I had with Jennifer Hollett and Matt Gurney on CBC’s The Current a nearly two weeks ago.¬†We were on the show to talk about the use and misuse of social media by politicians. The conversation hinged largely on an Ask Me Anything (AMA) session Ontario Premiere Wynne hosted (it was a train wreck) and Finance Minister Jim Flaherty’s annual opportunistic use of social media.

David wants the conversation to include my thoughts on social media use by Ontario leaders Kathleen Wynne, Tim Hudak and Andrea Horwath. I decided it would be helpful to collect my observations and thought on my blog in order to help commit them and the statistical information to my visual memory.

I expect Twitter will figure prominently in the conversation. David is an active (and very effective) tweeter and he knows the value of the platform for information sharing, discussion, debate and opinion measurement. The following table identifies Twitter activity by leader from February 26, 2013 through February 26, 2014.

Tweet count Regular Retweets Replies Tweets/day
@Kathleen_Wynne 1,538 78% 15% 7% 4
@TimHudak 543 76% 20% 5% 1
@AndreaHorwath 456 88% 9% 3% 1

As far as tone is concerned, I find Premiere Wynne’s to be stiff even when it is ostensibly relaxed. Some of her tweets, perhaps the ones she’s writing herself, come across as much less formal and more natural. Also, and perhaps this is just me, I’m not swayed by “high-gloss” professional photos of Ms. Wynne in action coupled with first person descriptions of the photos. Her selfies do more to personify her. Mr. Hudak and Ms. Horwath have much better Twitter voices.

In two out of three cases, the leader websites do not effectively bring together their respective digital ecosystems.

Premiere Wynne’s MPP website doesn’t link to her social media outposts or embed content streams from them, though her YouTube channel can be accessed from her videos page. Her domain KathleenWynne.ca redirects to a page on her party’s website which provides links to party owned and managed social media properties (not her own). Ms. Wynne actively uses her personal Facebook Profile. Her YouTube channel was last updated a year ago.

Tim Hudak’s website looks very 2009, though links are provided to his social media properties. His Facebook and Twitter properties link to the Ontario PC website. His YouTube channel, dormant for three years, links nowhere. The link from his website to his LinkedIn profile is broken. Mr. Hudak’s FB Fan Page is alive with chatter, though he clearly leverages it as a partisan platform. His Twitter bio needs an overhaul — it’s the wrong combination of personal and political.

Andrea Horwath’s website is the strongest of all three leaders. The main page provides clear and working links to her various social media outposts, and all of her outposts link back the website. A well established digital ecosystem. Her Facebook Page boasts a much better balance of personal and political tone and attracts a healthy amount of participation. While her YouTube channel is kept up to date, the most recent photo on her Flickr photostream was posted in October 2012.

The rest, which is certain to include some best practice dos and don’ts, will likely find its way into my conversation with David.