Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Not listening

For the most part, Kevin Libin's screed about Stephen Harper's Facebook page falls somewhere between a non-story being played up on a slow news week, and a stunning attempt to push Stephen Harper to be even less open to the public than he already is. But there's one part of the article which does bear mentioning:
A read through the photo comments section of the Facebook page of PMHarper finds supporters complaining about the distasteful tags being applied to the prime minister. Back in December, Julie Wu was asking "Can someone remove those tags? Not only is it immature, but extremely rude to the PM of Canada."

Weeks before that, in October, Nathan Lynes pleaded with the PM's Facebook minders: "Update the tags on your picture. Don't allow anyone to do this." Kelly Fitzgerald had noticed the same thing and "tried e-mailing his handlers," to alert them to the problem, "to no avail." Even before that, in September, Craig Drebit was asking "Can anyone remove the insulting tags on this photo?" The entire photo comment is a timeline of Conservative supporters galled at their main man's page being defaced by troublemakers.
Now, what's noteworthy isn't so much the fact that Harper hasn't done what some Con supports have suggested - which would be entirely understandable if some explanation was provided. Instead, the most striking aspect of the story is the fact that even Harper's supporters are going unanswered and unheeded for months at a time.

From my standpoint, it's that failure to even pay attention to supporters' comments and concerns in a rare medium which allows them to be made public in connection with a public figure which really reflects how much the Cons are missing the point of social media as part of their top-down vision of public communicaions. And that figures to remain a problem whether or not Libin's push to change Harper's tagging policy through the corporate press finds more success.

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