Tonight was the national leaders debate hosted by Maclean’s, and it was all hands on deck at campaign offices across the country. I know of at least 6 debate watching parties that various Manitoba candidates hosted, and there was definitely excitement in the air. For my part, after helping set up the event for Terry Duguid in Winnipeg South, I headed down to the CBC Manitoba studios to take part in a panel where 3 “party insiders” live-tweeted their debate thoughts.
Being a communications student who finishes her program next Friday, this was literally the perfect time for me to put into practice the skills I had developed throughout the past year. I had an opportunity to live tweet the debate and interact with followers, as well as do two on-camera interviews.
With social media now such an important part of our lives, this election is markedly different from previous ones in that most Canadians will get their information online. Campaigns, if they want to connect to voters, need to take this seriously and continually use social media as an outreach tool. CBC recognizes that and was interested in trying out a new and creative ways to engage with voters – especially the younger demographic. Over 4.2 million young people didn’t vote in the last election, which would’ve made a difference in the outcome. We know that the youth are actively engaged in their communities and for causes they believe in; they’re just not voting.
The format tonight was as follows. Party insiders from the 3 main parties (Liberal, NDP, and Conservative) sat in a room and watched the debate on television. We then tweeted our thoughts on who was doing things well, who wasn’t, calling out half-truths and lies, and general impressions. I also had an opportunity to interact with some people who tweeted at me directly, which was something I had encouraged in the lead up and was looking forward to. It was a really fun experience, and it is definitely something I would love to do again – although it’s not necessarily as easy as it looks! You want to be careful about what you send out, because it’s being live-streamed across a news network and really, there’s no second chances on social media. The adage be prepared was even more crucial in this type of format.
Here’s a clip from the post-debate interview with the insiders:
Click here to take a look at the CBC online article.
Tomorrow is round two where I’ll join my fellow panelists on CBC InfoRadio, 89.3 FM locally, to duke it out in a more traditional format. Panel starts at 7:40 am.
What did you think of the debate? Did you watch it in real-time, stream it afterwards, or just take a look at clips? Let me know what you thought about the performances, and what you think about this series so far. Is there any burning questions you have for me? Let me know!