The Current

Is it still acceptable for politicians to fail on social media?

Ontario premier Kathleen Wynne got torched online for retailing political boilerplate in what could have been a more candid session on Reddit. Today ... why politicians risk peril when they go electioneering on social media....
Ontario premier Kathleen Wynne got torched online for retailing political boilerplate in what could have been a more candid session on Reddit. Today ... why politicians risk peril when they go electioneering on social media. 

I remember a time in this province when same sex marriage wasn't legal. We got married because my children said because we could - we should.Ontario premier Kathleen Wynne

Ontario premier Kathleen Wynne gets credit for being upfront about her personal life. But she got torched online for retailing political boilerplate in what could have been a more candid session on Reddit this week.

Yesterday, her governing Liberal party was shut out in two provincial byelections. And her attempt to reach out to a younger crowd on the social media website, Reddit with her Ask Me Anything event may have backfired. Angry comments suggest Premier Wynne didn't attract many new voters.

Premier Wynne wasn't alone in facing the condemnation of cyberspace. Finance Minister Jim Flaherty sent out tweets asking followers for fashion advice --- crowdsourcing what tie he should wear to table the 2014 Federal Budget. Some Canadians were annoyed at being asked to play valet.


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These may be simple clumsy missteps, but history shows there are consequences for politicians who misunderstand new mediums.


  • Jennifer Hollett is a broadcast journalist and digital strategist who ran in the 2013 NDP nomination race for Toronto Centre.

  • Matt Gurney is a columnist for the National Post in Toronto.

  • Mark Blevis is president and digital public affairs strategist of FullDuplex.ca, a public affairs consulting company. He also grades MPs use of social media on his blog . Mark Blevis was in Ottawa.

We would like to hear your view on this story. What examples have you seen of politicians getting social media very right or very wrong?

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This segment was produced by The Current's Shannon Higgins and Josh Bloch.

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