Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Which Liberal Leadership Candidate Is Podcasting?

I was listening to Global National the other night and they did a story on the top rated Canadian podcast in iTunes being that of our Prime Minister.
They went on to say that the only Liberal leadership candidate who's podcasting is Michael Ignatieff, the chap that many believe will eventually become leader of the federal Liberal Party (doesn't he resemble John Kerry?).

So, I went on a mission. I visited the websites of his competitors, including the mothership, the Liberal Party. Here's what I found:

  • The Liberal Party is podcasting (although you can download instructions on how to listen through iTunes via a PDF).

  • Liberal leadership candidate #2, Bob Rae is NOT podcasting (although you can get his news, event and media information in RSS feeds).

  • Liberal leadership candidate #3, Joe Volpe, is NOT podcasting (although you can read his extremely lengthy What I Believe section).

  • Liberal leadership candidate #4, Gerrard Kennedy, is NOT podcasting (although he provides graphics for bloggers).

  • Liberal leadership candidate #5, St├ęphane Dion, is NOT podcasting, however, he has forums and he has an online video welcoming people to his website. So, he's almost there.

  • Liberal leadership candidate #6, Martha Hall Findlay is NOT podcasting (although there's a page under Engage the Issues that lists podcasts & blogs, but when you go to that page, all that's there is are 2 fan blogs and a streaming video file where you need Real Player to view).

  • Liberal leadership candidate #7, Scott Brison is NOT podcasting (although he has something called a Scott-cast, but it's in a WMA format so at the end of the day, it's simply audio on a website, but it's a start).

  • Liberal leadership candidate #8, Ken Dryden, former hockey player is NOT podcasting (however, he seems to support blogosphere with his BlogBuzz page).

  • Liberal leadership candidate #9, Carolyn Bennett, is NOT podcasting (although she has a most interesting image that acts as a blog - her "blog" turns out to be text on her blackberry).

  • Liberal leadership candidate #10, Maurizio Bevilacqua, is NOT podcasting (although he has a "blog" which turns out to be simply text on a webpage).

  • Liberal leadership candidate #11, Hedy Fry, is NOT podcasting (although she has streaming video played through QuickTime and she too has a blog, but it's being updated by someone on her campaign).

No wonder the Liberal party is in trouble and won't win any federal election in the foreseeable future. The candidates for the leadership of the federal party is embracing social media tools in a wishy washy way.

Some have blogs, but they're either just slapped on a webpage (instead of using a real blogging tool), or it's being updated by a campaign manager. Some are using what they think is podcasting, but it isn't since you need to download a player to view or listen to it, plus you can't find it in iTunes. Some have forums that don't even include real debate since someone is probably deleting any dissenting comments.

Social media in the form of podcasting, blogging, discussion boards, etc. could help these candidates form real relationships with the very people who are eventually going to vote for them at the leadership conference in November.

Not just that, but for those who truly embrace social media, not just treat it as a casual afterthought, could really set them themselves apart from their competitors and connect with Liberal party members in a way that seems real and not contrived.

No wonder innovation is lost is this country. How many small, innovative Canadian tech companies are now just a division of a American company because they've been acquired? How many brilliant Canadian minds are we losing to lucrative scholarships and job offers in other countries?

It all starts with our leaders. If our politicians are not willing - or don't care to - embrace the technological tools that the common Canadian person is using, then it's comes as no surprise that once they get into office, we feel the effects of their techno-ignorance through archaic policies.

Being a candidate is the perfect time to really understand how social media can help your campaign. Don't leave it to your campaign manager or someone else on your staff. Really take an interest, understand it, then farm it out to someone else.

Out of all the candidates, Michael Ignatieff and Ken Dryden pass my social media test. I highly recommend that if the other candidates want to make an impact in November at the leadership conference, develop a social media campaign that will turn heads, get blogosphere talking and podosphere buzzing.

Your time is right now.

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