DanAlbas-websiteYou may not have heard much of Dan Albas. He’s a Conservative backbencher who led the charge in Parliament to change a prohibition-era law preventing the cross-provincial carriage (and, by extension, the sale) of Canadian wine. Yes. There was a law that made it a criminal offense for consumers to carry Canadian wine across provincial borders. Us Ottawa-Gatineau folk have been breaking that law for years. Well, thanks to Mr. Albas, that law was changed last spring.

Mr. Albas’ name crossed my screen recently as I prepared a list of the top 10 most-actively tweeting MPs of 2012. Dan, if I can call him that, secured fifth place with his 2,558 tweets from the year. He was the second most-active Conservative MP on Twitter in 2012. However, people trying to figure out which party he’s aligned with would be met with a bit of a challenge. None of his biographical information reveals he’s a Conservative. With the exception of the tell-tale blue and a few search results on his website, Mr. Albas otherwise “hides” his party from all of his descriptive and biographical info.

That inspired me to dust off my digital makeover series.

Digital Ecosystem

Dan Albas’ digital ecosystem boasts a websiteblogTwitter account, Facebook Fan Page, Flickr photo stream and YouTube channel. It’s a loosely-connected ecosystem with some properties linking to others, and some not. It seems his intent is to make his blog the epicentre of his digital presence since it’s linked-to from his main website, Twitter profile and Facebook Fan Page. His Flickr profile links back to his main website. Mr. Albas’ YouTube channel is an island, lacking a photo, description or link to any of his other sites. It’s worth noting YouTube allows you to link to a variety of digital properties and identify each link.

Three opportunities for improvement:

  • Indicate you are a member of the Conservative caucus.
  • Overhaul your YouTube profile, adding a photo, description and a variety of links to other digital outposts.
  • Update your Flickr profile description. It says you’re a martial arts instructor. That’s only partly true.

GRADE: C

Content

Let me start by saying it comes across that Mr. Albas is the real-deal online. The frequency, tone and variety of content are human-identifiable patterns. His tweets are a mix of political, personal, quotes and thoughts on leadership, and raising awareness of Canada’s great wine industry.

His blog posts may be infrequent, though they’re worth the wait. They’re personable and easy to read. A model for would-be blogging MPs, many of whom think a blog is for posting transcripts of their QP statements and questions, official statements and media articles about themselves. His ‘good’ posts allow me to forgive his occassional post featuring an official statement.

Facebook, on the other hand, is a bit of a disappointment. You can’t have everything, though. How many outposts can one person maintain? Mr. Albas runs his Facebook Fan Page as a broadcast channel, linking to each new update to his official website (which is odd since he links the Fan Page to his blog).

Of all of his digital properties, Mr. Albas’ YouTube channel is the most disappointing. There’s so much that can be done with video by a person who comes across as so dynamic and with such specific interests; appealing interests like Canada’s wine industry and leadership. Instead, his channel is infrequently updated with QP appearances. But there is one nice surprise (see the bottom of this post).

Mr. Albas’ Flickr page has been stagnant since July 11, 2011.

Three opportunities for improvement:

  • Exploit your YouTube channel. Maybe convene some panels of wine tasting or something related to your other interests.
  • Start posting conversation-starting content and sharing in a way along the same lines as your Twitter account.
  • Dust off your Flickr page and get some photos up there.

GRADE: B

Participation & Community

Mr. Albas has an achilles heel in his digital presence… participation and community. Which is shocking because he has an easy hook with audience and community building through his promotion of Canada’s wine industry. In fact, a large population of his twitter followers identify themselves as being wine-lovers, and many in his constituency (probably unusual for many MPs). Students also represent a group of his followers.

While he may be reasonably aware and active in Twitter — in the last 30 days he used 12% of his tweets to reply to other and only 10% to generate new content; the remaining 78% were retweets — he’s missing out on exploiting Facebook as a way to build those relationships with constituent groups and stakeholders.

Three opportunities for improvement:

  • Start using Facebook to build a community.
  • Capitalize on on ‘low hanging fruit’ by organizing tweetups to taste Canadian wine and build in-person relationships.
  • Continue to build the strength and size of your community so you can activate it when you need it.

GRADE: C-

Interruption (the bonus category)

I’m going to give Mr. Albas a bit of a boost for his blog. Not too much of a boost because of the infrequency of his posts, but enough to acknowledge the tone and the fact that it at least appears he’s doing all of the writing.

GRADE: B

OVERALL GRADE: B-

Analysis performed using Marketwire/Sysomos Heartbeat and MAP.