Jim Karygiannis was in the news a few weeks ago, promoting the need for speed limiters following a horrific car crash in Toronto believed to be street-racing related. Part of the online attention included a powerful video produced by The Toronto Star which he posted to his YouTube channel.

And so, Mr. Karygiannis becomes the subject of my third digital makeover; a series in which I examine MP use of digital and social media and make recommendations to help them achieve a greater impact online. I am *not* going to redesign their websites.

Create a digital ecosystem

Despite having a full suite of social media outposts, there appears to be no cohesive strategy. None of Mr. Karygiannis’ online efforts are linked in a way that helps constituents and stakeholders easily find what they’re looking for, nor monitor his work. And, in the age of Google, Mr. Karygiannis is missing out on the opportunity to increase the aggregate value of each of his digital outposts by creating a digital ecosystem.

In English… Each of his websites and social media accounts should have a clear and specific purpose, and should be connected with all other sites (directly or through his website — a digital constituency office) to showcase his work to the public and provide a variety of platforms in which to engage and build communities.

Of course, Mr. Karygiannis’ lack of engagement at some outposts may explain the absence of links.

Website needs current information and current look

The information on Mr. Karygiannis’ website is generally good, though the presentation including typefaces and layout is dated. I recommend against sweeping changes because the organization of information at present is easy to follow. Also, I don’t think it’s always necessary to do something radical. Routine incremental changes to keep the information and presentation current is much better than major reconstruction every election cycle. I recommend retiring 1990s vintage messages such as “Welcome to my web site.”

Some sections of the website are kept remarkably up to date. Those sections typically feature official communications such as media releases and news clippings. Others such as Events haven’t been updated since 2007 and Latest Issues since June 2011. I’d update the heading “Live Videos / Audio” and avoid phrases like “View You Tube taken in the House of Commons.” It’s video. Call it video. That goes for the section heading as well.

By the way, I like the idea of including links to searches on Google, Yahoo and Ask Jeeves particularly since it avoids misspelling of Mr. Karygiannis’ last name. However, it’s probably time to revisit the selection of search engines.

Less partisanship, more mixed case on Twitter

Mr. Karygiannis is an active Twitter user (I’m assuming he does his own tweeting) whose profile features a good photo, descriptive bio and a link to his website. He’s very comfortable with hashtags, sharing links and is engaged in dialog. His tweets show both his political and personal stripes, painting a picture of the MP.

I think Mr. Karygiannis would do a lot better on Twitter if he toned down his partisanship. He should also drop his habit of typing strings of words, even entire tweets, in ALL CAPS.

Include context of photos

There are very few MPs exploiting the power of photos online, particularly over a channel like Flickr. Mr. Karygiannis is one who’s kept publishing a steady stream of photos of all activities. In fact, he’s published 32,922 photos (at the time of this post); the equivalent of 23 photos each day since he first posted photos to his Flickr account on December 6, 2007. They tell a fascinating story about his work in public life. However, it’s anyone’s guess why the photos were taken, who’s featured in the photos and why. It would be helpful for the public, for whom these photos are likely being posted for, to understanding and be able to search the photos.

Without the context, these photos are like content-free content. Unless you’re Mr. Karygiannis or his staff.

While the Flickr profile is easily identifiable as belonging to Mr. Karygiannis (photo and descriptive title), the account lacks a descriptive bio and link back to Mr. Karygiannis’ website. Lacking the bi-directional connections means his Flickr account is a silo.

Build a community

Mr. Karygiannis’ Facebook Fan Page has been a placeholder since it claimed its first post on March 20, 2010.

It’s worth noting that first post was not by Mr. Karygiannis. In fact, Mr. Karygiannis has yet to make an appearance on his page, having neither posted fresh content nor responded to anyone else’s posts to his page. That’s a lost opportunity many other politicians have never enjoyed. That is, Mr. Karygiannis actually has a Page on which people are leaving comments and praise! It would take little effort on his part to respond, extend the conversation and build a community.

His Fan Page does has a lengthy description even if no link to his website. Another digital silo.

Build on your digital strength

Even though it lacks a description and link to his website, Mr. Karygiannis’ YouTube channel plays host to an important strength in his digital presence: video. Mr. Karygiannis uses video to show himself in action for his constituents and stakeholders. And, he publishes a steady stream of content; media segments, clips from Question Period, footage from rallies and press conferences, etc…

The quality of the clips range from rank amateur with poor audio and video quality to professional footage. Still, the content shows what he’s doing. If he’s willing to connect the dots with his other online efforts, video could play an important role in his digital communications and online community building activities.

I disagree with his approach of disabling comments on his videos — it is *social* media, after all. However, if he’s not going to engage or at least moderate comments, he should stick with that approach. He should also address some of the more crass and demeaning sexual commentary left on his videos.

JIM KARYGIANNIS’ DIGITAL GRADE: C-