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Guelph Politico is locally sourced and dedicated to covering the political and cultural scene in the City of Guelph. Est. 2008.

Friday, May 30, 2014

Twitter Fails for Party Leaders

This election cycle (for me) kicked off with some Twitter talk - who's on it, who's not on it - so it seems apropos to revisit the topic of social media and its impact on the election. Things went to a whole other level yesterday when the CBC posted a story about some Americans being inundated with tweets because they have the good, or unfortunate, fate to share the names of the two frontrunners for the job of Ontario's Premier: Kathleen Wynn and Tim Hudak.

This article from the CBC's website outlined the problem for Ms. Wynn, a twentysomething from the Washington D.C. area, who tweets under the handle @kathleenwynn. That's right, maybe you sent a dart or a laurel to our current Premier, but she didn't get it because Kathleen Wynne, with an 'e,' tweets as @kathleen_wynne. Honest mistake. It's happened to me; I've directed tweets to people I thought were other people, and I've gotten tweets from people who thought I was someone else. And I'm also quite sure that there's some @adamdonaldson out there who's gotten stuff meant for @adamadonaldson. The second one is me.
The contentious nature of the current election here in Ontario means that Wynn has been getting a lot of the trash talk meant for Wynne. According to the CBC her tweets are protected, meaning you have to follow her in order to read them, but that may only add to the inadvertent confusion since there's no public feed for people to get the hint. As a result, the Wynn without the 'e' from D.C. had to change her bio to read: "I AM NOT A CANADIAN POLITICIAN, NOR DO I CARE ABOUT YOUR CANADIAN PROBLEMS. DO NOT TAG ME IN YOUR RANTS. AMERICA!"
I wish I could say that was dissuasive, but the way some people consider Wynne they probably think she's invented this younger American doppelganger to take some of the heat from her official feed.
On the flip side, Tim Hudak is loving it! Not @timhudak, leader of the Progressive Conservative Party of Ontario, but @hoodyhudak, an 28-year-old former marine. This Hudak seems to enjoy this case of mistaken identity saying, "I'll see a post from Tim Hudak on his Facebook page and I'll post something on there that says, 'I'm Tim Hudak and I support this,' and I'll get something like 50 likes on that comment."
All in good fun, I guess. 

The lesson of the day is people on Twitter may not be exactly how they appear. One man's Parent Trap is another woman's Dead Ringers, and after all, a tweet is just 140 characters long so if you're going to type "corrupt" like 10 times just to send it to the wrong Wynn(e), then I think the entire value of Twitter must be called into question. So remember: @kathleenwynn and @timhudak. Fortunately, there seems to be less competition for @AndreaHorwath and @MikeSchreiner. Maybe it's the caps....

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