Industry Minister James Moore is known as something of a digitally-minded MP. As one of the early and actively tweeting MPs (he joined Twitter in April 2009), he’s been highlighted in many of my reports and in media stories about politics in the digital age. Of course, it’s helped that he was Heritage Minister for a while and thus involved in decisions relating to culture, Canadian content and intellectual property.
James Moore became Industry Minister as part of last summer’s cabinet shuffle. That put him centre stage on issues including wireless fees and the monopoly of the “Big Three” telco companies (Bell, Rogers and Telus) and the wireless spectrum auction. He also made headlines in December for some remarks he made for which, following a series of delays and apparent denials, Minister Moore published a clear and unconditional apology which he promoted online.
This edition of my digital makeover series looks at Industry Minister James Moore.
Minister Moore might have one of the most complex digital ecosystems I’ve observed among MPs. In fact, I would argue he maintains two overlapping digital ecosystems rather than just one: his “personal-political” ecosystem anchored by the website JamesMoore.org, and his “party-political” ecosystem anchored by the website JamesMoore.ca. And, while his .org ecosystem seems aware of his .ca ecosystem, the reverse is not so clear.
Clearly his heaviest investment has been in JamesMoore.org. The site is slick and modern, and has been designed to work well on mobile devices. Unfortunately, the site’s performance is sluggish at times, perhaps because of the dynamic, high quality images in the masthead. While the navigation interface on the “Accomplishments” page is unique on the desktop version, the mobile version follows the site’s conventions. JamesMoore.ca uses the desktop version for all devices which makes for a more challenging mobile experience. On the other hand, the performance of his .ca site is great.
On the quirky side, the “Delivering for you” section at the bottom of his .ca site seems to have a mind of its own. When I mouse over it, the section scrolls wildly. Otherwise, I think the .ca site is well put-together.
Both sites clearly identify and describe the Minister and his constituency, though both are a little light on information relevant to constituency issues and work he is doing as Industry Minister. Some relevant info can be found in the news sections of the sites. Those news links often send visitors to other sites rather than provide relevant summaries and explanations to visitors where they are.
In addition to the two websites, Minister Moore maintains five social media outposts: Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Google+ and YouTube. This is where the relationship between his ecosystems gets complex.
Most of his social media outposts participate in his .org ecosystem, some in his .ca ecosystem, and some in both. His YouTube channel also boasts links to his Twitter and Facebook profiles (this is indicated in the written notes in the above ecosystem diagram because the additional lines would have cluttered the diagram).
Minister Moore is one of the few MPs I’ve conducted a digital makeover of who uses the About box on his Facebook profile to help visitors learn more about him. This line-of-site box indicates the Page belongs to the “Community & Government” category on the social networking site. The box also invites visitors to click though to his .ca website. He falls short of identifying himself as a Conservative MP for Moody-Westwood-Port Coquitlam or as Industry Minister. That information is available on the full About page.
An active and effective user of Twitter, it’s strange to see his profile cover photo feature much younger versions of himself and Prime Minister Harper. While that may be out of place, it’s also one of those attention-getting photos which causes visitors to do a double-take. I did. That’s probably not such a bad thing.
Minister Moore’s YouTube and Google+ profiles could use some attention. His Google+ profile suggests his work in the Government is in the past, while his YouTube channel only indicates his role on the About page.
Three opportunities for improvement:
- More clearly define the role each of your ecosystems serves for you as a politician and senior member of the caucus. Perhaps you need to streamline into a single ecosystem. Regardless, the presence of two sites which overlap as much as they do, yet remain as unique as they do, can cause confusion for constituents and issue-stakeholders.
- Make sure you understand which social media outposts should point back to which ecosystem. Giving visitors both options can cause confusion over which link to click is the best choice. This will really only be possible after you address the first bullet in this list.
- Make sure each of your outposts clearly indicates who you are. Google+, YouTube and Instagram can all use an update.
Minister Moore has been active on social media for many years. He tweets, posts updates to his Facebook page, publishes videos to his YouTube channel and started using Instagram periodically a year ago. He’s particularly effective at making sure the dust doesn’t really settle on any of his outposts. That’s no easy feat with as many properties as he has.
The content is generally good even if much of it has an official look and feel to it. And, while he does share photos from his point of view, official material has taken on a bigger share of his publishing activities, particularly on Instagram, Facebook and YouTube. Google+ is a rebroadcast system for his YouTube channel where all of the videos he’s shared on his timeline since July are accompanied by the statement “Customize your message.”
It’s on Twitter where Minister Moore creates a more personable environment. Not only does he inflect his own thoughts and experiences in the text of his tweets, he often shares photographs and videos he took – from his point of view. These include pictures of sunsets, the auto show, books and his dog, and videos of concerts he’s attended and flights he’s taken.
Since becoming Industry Minister, James Moore’s YouTube channel has an exclusive home for news clips in which he is interviewed. From his time as Heritage Minister there are news clips, QP appearances and some public appearances including a short talk he gave as Heritage Minister to express support for youth-led anti-bullying project at A.Y. Jackson High School in Ottawa. There are 30 videos in his channel ranging from one year ago to yesterday.
Facebook features a mix of updates relevant to his work as Industry Minister and promotion of activities by the Conservative Government. While it’s rare, Minister Moore does post the odd update which features a personal reflection. A November 27, 2013 post is one such example.
Three opportunities for improvement:
- The vast majority of Canadians still struggle to understand the nuances of the wireless issues, auctions, etc… A primer in a variety of formats (infographic, video, etc…) would be helpful.
- The Industry portfolio offers plenty of opportunities to showcase more than news clips and QP appearances. There’s a lot that could be done to get Canadians excited about homegrown innovation, particularly from your POV.
- Make sure to include proper titles, descriptions and metadata on all of your content. Your Google+ page in particular looks like an afterthought. This may help with your “Google juice,” but does little to speak to Canadians. Besides, the more relevant info you provide, the more you feed the SEO machine.
Participation & Community
Minister Moore’s Facebook community is not as active as I expected it would be. The number of comments to his posts are lower than I would have bet on. I suspect a lot of that has to do with the nature of the content he’s sharing on that platform. It tends to be more politics and party focused. There are fewer exchanges which inflect Canadian industry/innovation or which show the Minister’s personality than there are on Twitter. Still, the Minister does jump in occasionally to respond to questions posted in the threaded discussion.
Perhaps it’s simply the Minister is not as taken by or comfortable with Facebook as an engagement platform. Each platform has its own strengths, weaknesses, freedoms and demands, as does each user. Getting the most out of each platform means committing to proper use. That’s easier said than done, sometimes.
Twitter is really where Minister Moore has become Internet famous. He doesn’t just tweet. He participates in the chatter. Over the last twelve months, 40% of his tweets are retweets and 23% replies. Those are good numbers. However, they have shifted over the last 90 days (49% retweets, 12% replies), as they do with all active participants in digital culture. Minister Moore is part of that culture.
Three opportunities for improvement:
- Change the way you engage your Facebook community by offering more about Industry Canada and you, less about the party and partisan politics. Having said that, I acknowledge that positive tweets acknowledging members opposite tend to go unnoticed (example).
- When you do weigh in on Facebook discussion threads, offer more than a graph as your response. It may convey the relevant information, however, it doesn’t present well as participation (Facebook isn’t Twitter).
- Bring your Twitter participation levels back up, again.
Interruption (the bonus category)
Frankly, it’s remarkable that Minister Moore has two websites and five social media outposts (not including his LinkedIn profile which is current even if he doesn’t actually exploit the platform). For me, the interruption in this instance is the Minister’s ability to generally keep the cobwebs off so many properties and participating in online exchanges while doing his day job.