By February 18, 2013 1 Comments Read More →

Digital Makeover: Wayne Easter

WayneEaster-websiteI met Wayne Easter in August 2010 when the debate over the long-gun registry was getting a lot of national media attention. Conservative MP James Bezan had already garnered some media attention through some videos he posted to YouTube (featuring his horse Woody) in which he addressed the camera, offering his thoughts on why the registry should be abolished and challenging Michael Ignatieff’s campaign to keep it alive. For the record, I thought Mr. Bezan’s videos were well-suited to social media. Reports suggest the PMO thought otherwise and the videos were pulled. They were up long enough to inspire the 22 Minutes comedy troupe to do a parody.

Mr. Easter had been an active tweeter. He stopped tweeting before the long-gun registry debate became more active online. During our chat, I asked why he had stopped. Mr. Easter noted that issues surrounding the long-gun registry were nuanced, not suited to Twitter’s 140 character restriction which often resulted in the loss of necessary contextual information. A short time after the House of Commons vote brought down the registry I noticed Mr. Easter had returned to Twitter.

Digital Ecosystem

WayneEaster-FlickrLooking at his website, you’d never know Wayne Easter has a number of social media outposts. As of this preparation stage of this post, only Flickr is teased on his website. However, the unlinked Flickr heading is immediately followed by the text “Flickr is currently unavailable.” Actually, his Flickr account is up. And, it’s even current. A number of photos were posted in January including a great shot of Mr. Easter with the Right Honourable Herb Gray.

Flickr is just one of Mr. Easter’s digital properties. He also has a Facebook Fan Page, Twitter account, Google+ page and not one but two YouTube channels; the more recent of the two, launched February 1, has a very cryptic, non-human readable channel name (“UC7p3O9fAhfAjgC3U9NNx4Xg”).

His Facebook, Twitter and dormant YouTube account link back, someway or another, to Mr. Easter’s website. I say it that way because some sites link to WayneEaster.com and others to WayneEaster.Liberal.ca. His Flickr and Facebook pages include very concise biographical information. His YouTube channels are identifiable as belonging to an MP by the content and, in the case of the dormant channel, a link to a Liberal party web page.

I don’t expect many of Mr. Easter’s constituents are moved by social media. Therefore, I’d argue links to his outposts from his website are more a convenience rather than a requirement. However, I believe photos should be a central part of his ecosystem.

By the way, Mr. Easter’s most current YouTube channel has been subscribed to the popular TED Talks channel.

WayneEaster-TED

Three opportunities for improvement:

  • Fix the Flickr side block to show thumbnails of recently uploaded photos. Or, delete it to eliminate a public error message.
  • Pick one form of your URL (I suggest WayneEaster.com) and use that as your website URL on all of your outposts.
  • Give your active YouTube channel a relevant vanity name.

GRADE: D

Content

WayneEaster-youtubeAs noted above, Mr. Easter has kept his Flickr account active. This is important. I suspect his riding in particular, given its size and demographics, would benefit from photos of people. Featuring photos on his main page and throughout his site will humanize an otherwise very ‘official’ website. That is, his website features transcripts of his QP appearances. It’s dry, yet necessary reading for issue stakeholders.

One of Mr. Easter’s YouTube channel is growing cobwebs. The most recent video posted to that channel dates back 8 months. His new channel has been active since its launch a few weeks ago. In both cases, the uploads are exclusively official; a mix of HoC appearances and official statements.

Facebook is a broadcast channel, allowing Mr. Easter to promote some of his thoughts as well as links to content he feels is relevant. He’s been posting there regularly though has gone through extended dry spell. Meanwhile, his Google+ page has a single post; a video from the day he opened his new YouTube account.

His strength appears to be Twitter. Yes, the channel that limits our ability to include necessary context is one over which Mr. Easter has found a way to be interesting and engaging in 140 characters or less with great frequency.

Three opportunities for improvement:

  • Do more with photos: post more, feature more, share more.
  • Embed videos of your HoC appearances in the transcripts posted to your website.
  • Don’t spread your content posting requirements too thin. Get rid of your Google+ account.

GRADE: C

Participation & Community

WayneEaster-fbMr. Easter’s online community isn’t particularly engaged. His Facebook posts rarely tease out a response from his followers.

Twitter is clearly Mr. Easter’s comfort zone. In addition to sharing his thoughts and links to relevant third-party content, he participates in a respectable level of conversation over Twitter. Roughly 23% of the Twitter activity he’s involved in is conversation. Not bad, really.

Otherwise, commenting and participation is low. I’m not particularly surprised. And, while I shouldn’t really penalize Mr. Easter given his constituency, I can’t constantly change my evaluation criteria for each MP.

Three opportunities for improvement:

  • Consider trying to engage your Facebook community by posing relevant questions.
  • Use FB to share a more personal view of your activities. Offer rationale for some of your decisions and actions as a way to connecting with and drawing out participation from your followers.
  • Use Twitter to drive traffic to your FB page, particularly for longer-form thought sharing not suited to the formal tone of your website.

GRADE: C-

Interruption (the bonus category)

As noted above, the compostion of Mr. Easter’s constituency is not typically associated with active social media participation. In effect, Mr. Easter appears to be using online tools to help increase awareness of relevant issues, endorse the mindset that digital tools are emerging as increasingly important to the future of Canada’s democratic system, and support his caucus mates and party to help rebuild the Liberal brand as being forward thinking.

GRADE: B+

OVERALL GRADE: C

Analysis performed using Marketwire/Sysomos Heartbeat and MAP.

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About the Author:

Mark Blevis is a digital public affairs strategist and President of FullDuplex.ca, an integrated digital communications, public affairs and research company. His work focuses on the role of digital tools and culture on issues and reputation management. He also leads research into how Canadian opinions are shaped through online content and interactions.
  • Marce Bylinska

    It looks like there are quite a few of these guys who have two accounts on flickr or YouTube for example. Any ideas why that may be? Are they trying to establish one personal and one professional account (which it doesn’t look like since the content is similar) or did they just forget their passwords?