A simple question for Slaw-yers: was #Elxn41 the “Social Media Election”?
The term was tossed about during the campaign with conjecture on how social media would impact the election; so now that the election is over and we have had some time to reflect, was it the “social media election”? I am unsure, but my inclination is that it was not. Primarily because I did not see a lot of content generated specifically for social media, nor have I observed an impact that can be attributed to social media. I saw of lot of content generated in a traditional fashion and then migrated to the social media platform but I did not see a party use social media to a competitive advantage. Despite initial projections of high voter turnout the eventual number did not match those projections.
Social media was used a great deal by individuals, such that #Elxn41 and #CdnPoli became popular hashtags; my impression of that commentary was largely of individuals commenting on what they perceived in the election. I remain unsure about my inclination to a negative answer to the question because there easily could have been something I missed, but what I saw was a campaign conducted in a largely traditional fashion and I have difficulty perceiving the impact social media had on the election, so that is why I’m posting the question here at Slaw.
I believe that a party or candidate that seizes social media and uses it is as a primary means of communicating with an electorate will have a competitive advantage, I just didn’t see it this time. I think #Elxn41 was a trial run and that #Elxn42 will be the true social media election. Hopefully, by that time we will have figured something out regarding s 329 of the Canada Elections Act
“No person shall transmit the result or purported result of the vote in an electoral district to the public in another electoral district before the close of all of the polling stations in that other electoral district.”
An act, by the way, that mentions “the Internet” twice….. without ever really acknowledging what it is. In both 319 and 324: “…on what is commonly known as the Internet.” The act must either recognize the internet exists, accept it and drop the prohibition on broadcasting or simply keep results confidential until all polls in the country have closed. This section has been tried before in R v Bryan, 2007 SCC 12; however, that judgment does not lend clarity to the fact that social media is here, it cannot be silenced and that the line between communicating and broadcasting is becoming blurred.
So to reiterate, was #Elxn41 the “Social Media Election”?