The web is not like mainstream media. The former is participatory and interactive; the latter is appointment-based and geared towards passive consumption. That’s probably why I shake my head that politicians think campaign digital content creation is simply uploading expensive television ads and media clips to YouTube. Job done. I was worried this would be an epidemic for years to come.

It was the federal Liberal party that broke away from the pack with purpose-built, entertaining videos during the last campaign. In response to news that the Conservative party was ejecting rally attendees because of photos on their Facebook profiles, the Liberals created the highly cheeky Hey Stephen Harper, stop creeping me on Facebook video.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o6hDv6gCe1I

It didn’t make a difference to their campaign. They had other problems and, as I’ve noted, we’re still not quite at the point at which social media tips the election scales. Content won’t win the battle, but it will get people talking and sharing with others and possibly engaging with the campaign.

What’s really missing is the call to action — something to get voters and would-be supporters up and “involved” during the weeks leading up to the campaign. Give them something to do now and everyday to keep the election and the importance of their vote ever present in their mind rather than waiting to ignite them from the haze on ballot day.

I recommend lots of great (and shareable) video, photographic, audio and written content. Politicians and campaign staff should “take constituents on the trail with them”. No scripts. No rhetoric. Fun. Learn from Jack Layton and strike the balance between issue-charisma and personality.

Digital content is cheap and easy. Done well it can strengthen relationships and mobilize support.