Little online excitement on the Prairies

By: Sandford BorinsWith the Alberta election coming next Monday, I revisited the party Web sites to see how they have changed since the start of the campaign.The Alberta Liberal site focuses on two recently-posted videos of leader Kevin Taft, “meet Kevin Taft” and “the next Alberta.” The videos are low-key and portray Taft as a friendly and approachable kind of guy. With 2,600 visits each, they've received a fair bit of attention.Buried deep in the news releases is an account of the leaders' debate held on February 21. Judging by the media reaction Taft includes, he was the strongest performer. I think the Liberals are missing an opportunity by not giving the debate more play on their home page or by posting clips of Taft's best moments on their YouTube Channel and creating a YouTube channel for Premier Ed Stelmach's worst moments.The polls suggest Taft's Liberals are gaining and Ed Stelmach's Conservatives are slipping. Unfortunately, the Liberal Web site doesn't communicate this momentum. It also doesn't present a negative narrative about Stelmach's weaknesses, though this is an especially appropriate time to do so.The Alberta Progressive Conservative Party site has now begun to provide the content that I noted as missing in my previous entry, but overall gives the impression of a party hoping that it can use the advantages of incumbency and inertia to coast to re-election.The home page opens with an egregious video of Ed Stelmach introducing himself as a mini-me in the lower right corner of the page. The campaign book has a lot more photos than content. The Alberta PC Facebook group boasts all of 353 members.The Alberta PC YouTube channel has nine videos, mainly Stelmach ads, and the two most popular have had only 600 visits. Indeed, the most visited (5,200 and counting) YouTube video about Ed Stelmach is a “don't worry, be happy” send-up posted by disgruntled Conservatives.The Alberta NDP Web site has recently added videos attacking the Conservatives and Liberals for taking donations from big oil companies and the Wildrose Alliance's site now looks like an election site, but given the nature of its appeal to disgruntled Conservatives, it would be more effective if it were more hard-hitting.I'll finish by revisiting Saskatchewan. After the election of the Saskatchewan Party, I predicted a makeover of the Government of Saskatchewan home page along the lines of Saskatchewan's New Government.After more than three months, it hasn't happened. The only discernible difference is the disappearance of the wheat sheaf and the emergence of the exclamation mark. Premier Brad Wall's home page is a complete dud, with a short written hello and then links to texts of speeches and news releases, but no new look, no videos, no blog, no YouTube channel. For a GenX leader, that's a real disappointment.

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