Social media, broadcast media and election campaigns

The Canadian Federal election is on Tuesday October 14, 2008 and the US Presidential election still has a few weeks to go so you won’t get much in the way of comments on upcoming use of social media in the campaigns in this post. Instead I want to comment on what has been going on regarding the use of social media by the large traditional broadcasters.

Disclaimer: BRASSmedia and Dean Owen do not endorse any of the broadcasters mentioned. Don’t forget – broadcasters tend to put a spin on the news for many (and whatever) reasons. That’s why social media and the new web are a great thing – you can get many different takes on news events. Remember to listen carefully, question what you hear and see, support citizen journalism and make up your own mind.

The CBC (Canadian Broadcast Corporation) has been encouraging viewers to send in content to Canada Votes – Your View.  Primarily a blog encouraging viewer comments and answers to questions. BTW: the CBC has embraced social media and social networking in a big way to publish their content via News to Go. All the way from eMail news alerts to Twitter Tweets and podcasts. Viewers can also submit content such as breaking news via the CBC’s Your Voice site. They also feature news stories on how candidates and citizens are making use of blogs and social networks to share their messages and points of view. Not bad for a broadcaster who is typically associated with classical music and Hockey Night In Canada.

CNN has embraced the web for a few years now so it is no surprise that they jumped into social media with both feet. Podcasts and blogs from Larry King, iReport – content from viewers, Anderson Cooper’s 360 Blog and there are many more instances. One of the examples that makes the most use of social media (all at once) is Rick Sanchez. He made use of Twitter, Facebook, Myspace and eMail all at the same time while carrying on a news show and interviewing guests. Talk about multi-tasking! I wonder why CNN has gotten involved so quickly with social media while other broadcasters and news providers are struggling with their online presence? Good for CNN.

Including audience participation on television via modern technology is not new. A few years ago I stumbled upon a Much Music show targeting early teens in which they showed viewer text based comments and shout-outs to their buddies. Yes the digital natives, the text messaging generation, the young and early adopters all got into this years ago. Now the rest of us are catching up.


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