Marketwired Blog

The BC Liberal Party executive is deciding this weekend on the date for the upcoming Liberal leadership vote

NOTE:  The following post is courtesy of Gillian Shaw, author of the Vancouver Sun’s Digital Life blog, and was originally published November 13, 2010. 

While there is still much speculation over who may join the leadership race, I took a look at the social media activities of the main contenders to see if they are ready to launch a campaign.From a review  of their social media presence — which is some cases includes sites and profiles that may have been launched by others in their name — I’d have to conclude Rich Coleman doesn’t look like a politician who’s on the brink of retiring. He doesn’t lead in social media numbers but he has all the pieces in place, up to and including an iPhone app that pulls together all his social media feeds. Others like Mike de Jong, are trailing in the social media world. In de Jong’s case, the Twitter void has been filled by a FakeMikedeJong profile.

I got help on this from Sysomos, the social-media analytics company that was acquired by Marketwire and provides comprehensive monitoring and data-mining services for corporate and individual clients. Marketwire’s Gus Fosarolli took a current snapshot and the graphic below shows how the seven main contenders compare in terms of the reach, in a measure that includes news, blogs, Twitter, YouTube and other sources. 

Here’s a Sysomos graphic based on the time period starting November 2, the day before Gordon Campbell announced his resignation and ending yesterday, November 12.  The numbers aren’t the candidates’ rankings, it’s just the order we listed them for input. Diane Watts, Rich Coleman and Kevin Falcon top the share of voice online findings while radio personality and former Liberal cabinet minister Christy Clark comes in last. However, there are a lot of factors that can skew these results, including the fact that the Surrey mayor and the two cabinet ministers get coverage and mention online for their regular work, not just on the subject of the Liberal leadership. Also Dianne Watts gets mentioned in social media with one n, Diane Watts and we didn’t include that spelling in this roundup. Also an email this morning points out I didn’t include a draft Christy Clark Facebook page. I didn’t include any of the draft candidate Facebook pages in this look although if there are public postings in social media that would be picked up by Sysomos, they’d be included in that measurement. 

I was also helped by Vancouver’s Pete Quily, an adult ADHD coach who blogs about political issues and is the author of one of the most comprehensive social-media measures of the Obama-McCain contest.

Here’s the full story I wrote, the first in what will be an on-going look at the impact of social media on the Liberal leadership campaign. Some of the potential candidates I considered for this review may not end up in the leadership race and quite possibly there will be others making a bid for the leadership who haven’t been included in this list. 

Increasingly, political campaigns hinge on the success of social-media campaigns with the latest success story, newly elected Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi, topping the online charts before votes were even counted.

With the B.C. Liberal leadership race soon to launch, this is a good time to assess the socialmedia readiness of potential candidates to take over from retiring premier Gordon Campbell.

I focused my social-media review on seven possible contenders for the job, leaving aside Carole Taylor, who, while under pressure to run, has recently been named chancellor of Simon Fraser University. I got help from Vancouver’s Pete Quily, an adult ADHD coach who blogs about political issues and is the author of one of the most comprehensive social-media measures of the Obama-McCain contest.

The potential candidates I considered include: Dianne Watts, Rich Coleman, Kevin Falcon, George Abbott, Mike de Jong, Christy Clark and Blair Lekstrom.

I looked at profiles that would be easily accessible to voters doing a Google search, so if candidates have more obscure social-media handles that haven’t been picked up by the search engines, they won’t be here. It’s also not always clear who has posted the various social-media profiles, so some may have been put up by people other than the potential candidates.

To measure the social-media impact of the potential candidates, I enlisted the help of Sysomos, the social-media analytics company that was acquired by Marketwire and provides comprehensive monitoring and data-mining services for corporate and individual clients.

Marketwire’s Gus Fosarolli has taken a current snapshot to kick off what will be an on-going series in The Vancouver Sun, monitoring the social-media activities of the candidates who throw their hats in the ring. The accompanying graphics show how the potential candidates compare in terms of their socialmedia reach and impact, including blogs, Twitter, YouTube, news and other measures.

In cases where the potential candidates had a Twitter and Facebook influence rating by the website Klout, I included that.

There are other potential contenders, but we’ll focus on the top ones:

Dianne Watts The mayor of Surrey and so far leading the popularity polls as a potential replacement for Gordon Campbell. She has promised to reveal her plans next week, and so far, her social-media channels seem to be similarly in the dark, although that could mask strategic planning around a leadership bid.

Facebook: 3,242 friends

Leading among potential contenders, with 3,242 friends as of this writing, far ahead of Rich Coleman, who, at 768 friends, is closest behind. Notably, Watts has a Facebook page and not just a fan page — like the Queen, who isn’t actually a Facebook friend to anyone. Watts has Facebook friends, unlike some of the competition.

Twitter followers: No Twitter page posted for DianneWatts, although the name is not available on Twitter. A parody page @ DianneMegaWatts that was recently posted has 10 followers.

Website: The domain is registered to Brian Watts of Surrey, but a click on that URL just returns a “page not found” error message. Still available are the DianneWatts domains ending with . ca, . org, . info and others, although diannewatts. net is taken and has the message “under construction.”

Rich Coleman Sun Victoria columnist Vaughn Palmer says Coleman, solicitor-general and minister of housing, is rumoured to be thinking of retiring, so he’s a possible kingmaker rather than king in a leadership race. But Coleman, known as @ ColemanCountry, seems to be embracing social media, most notably tying his social media connections together in a free iPhone app that includes his tweets, his YouTube videos, Flickr feed, plus other government news.

Facebook: 768 friends

Twitter: @ColemanCountry has 619 followers; he seems to have figured out the conversational tone and doesn’t use it as simply an advertising mouthpiece, plus it’s up-to-date.

YouTube: At has 1,978 upload views.

Website: There are several websites for Rich Coleman but the best one to keep your eye on for his social media intentions is has all his social media profiles, RSS feeds and doesn’t look like the page of a politician who’s planning to wind down his career.

Klout score: 11

Kevin Falcon B.C.’s health minister has said Carole Taylor would be a good candidate in a leadership race but since she doesn’t seem to be entering the competition, keep an eye on Falcon’s social media activity.

Facebook: Kevin Falcon’s page is like the Queen’s; you can like it, as 338 people do, but it’s not one for friends, and the last entry was on election day, May 12, 2009

Twitter: @KevinFalcon has 881 followers and other than the occasional retweet, it’s all one-way; you won’t see KevinFalcon engaging with followers. In fact the last tweet was July 22.

Website: If domains are any indication, Kevin Falcon doesn’t have any websites ready to launch a leadership bid. was unavailable at last check and and .net lead to his generic Liberal-party page. Falcon’s Twitter profile links to his government website. 

Klout score: 5

George Abbott My first clue that the education minister and Liberal MLA for Shuswap isn’t ready for a leadership bid was the link on George AbbottMLA Twitter and Facebook pages that takes you to,a holding page with links to insurance websites that appears to be held by a domain speculator. Not clear who is behind the Twitter page.

Facebook: Like Falcon, Abbott’s is a standard Liberal MLA Facebook fan page. A bit short on fans: Only 167 people have said they like it.

Twitter: @GeorgeAbbottMLA has 95 followers. The first tweet was a “test” last February and since then a grand total of eight tweets. Definitely needs work if there’s a leadership bid planned.

Website: His government-issue website is flogging insurance, not looking for leadership votes.

Mike de Jong I couldn’t find an active MikedeJong Twitter page, although that profile has been taken by someone — no clue who, it’s not active and two people the account is following are definitely not in the Liberal caucus. Same for MichaeldeJong on Twitter. But @FakeMikedeJong, whose profile explains he’s there “since the real one hasn’t come online to represent himself,” entertains 1,619 followers with infrequent and often profane musings.

Facebook: A Michael de Jong fan page on Facebook seems to be a generic one thrown up with no profile photo, a Wikipedia entry and zero likes.

Website: Government issue website plus B.C. Liberal Party website for de Jong but nothing more pops up. If there’s an active social media campaign going on around de Jong, it certainly doesn’t spring to the top of the search engines. Lack of social media presence doesn’t indicate pressing leadership ambitions.

Blair Lekstrom The designated independent Liberal from Peace River South is thinking of taking a run at the leadership, according to Palmer, so worth checking if he’s putting any effort into stepping up his social media presence. A quick look at Twitter would indicate he’s not: The Twitter profile BlairLekstrom hasn’t been taken, an indication that Lekstrom isn’t very socially media savvy and must have missed the stories about Twitter name hijacking.

Twitter: Since he hasn’t taken his own name on Twitter, it would be surprising to find he has taken on another profile name but I checked BlairLekstromMLA just in case — no one home.

Facebook: Another no-photo fan page with a Wikipedia entry, although unlike de Jong, 44 people like it.

Christy Clark The former Liberal MLA and cabinet minister has a clear leg up in the leadership race when it comes to social media, should she decide to run. A radio personality, she already has her social media profiles lined up and running, so it wouldn’t take much to tune them up for the leadership campaign.

Twitter: @ChristyClarkBC has 748 followers but it’s a tad lacking in personality. Reads like an ad for her radio show and only follows 11 people, an indication that she’s not interested in dialogue. Look for that to change if she needs leadership votes.

Facebook: 450 people like her Fan page.

YouTube: 20,527 upload views on her YouTube channel.

Klout score: 5

This is the first snapshot in a continuing look at Liberal leadership contenders and social media. Please e-mail me at if there are social media profiles missing that you’d like to see in the next instalment.

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