I’ve had many conversations with many people since the results rolled in on the Ontario election last week. One of the conversations have been a number of different questions about whether “social media” worked for the various campaigns. Frankly I don’t think it is a yes or no answer at all. I do believe that each of the campaigns, at the centre and in the ridings, worked hard to deploy messaging through social media channels. However, from my perspective I think that the bulk of activity by the central campaigns, and to some degree in the trenches was really a modified “push media approach”. By “push” I am referring to a message that was carefully crafted, an image that was created, a hashtag or two and then someone who had it approved as a campaign message broadcast it out on the social channel.  I did experiment with the parties on a few tweets from myself, either @ or DM and found that the response rates were really disappointing. As a self proclaimed “conversationalist” I would expect that when utilizing social media channels that one would expect that there would be respect for these channels as an opportunity to engage in a conversation. Too often I saw these messages pushed out through the social media channels in an effort to use them as mini media channels. The other reflection I have is related to the #onpoli hashtag. I think that a lot of time was wasted by a lot of people shouting from various positions at each other, rather than figuring out how to converse with the electorate and try and sway them one way or another through a meaningful conversation or debate. Those that know me will not be surprised by my observation. I do believe that social media channels can be an effective medium, when engagement is viewed as a conversation. In some instances it may be a “debate”, but at least it is a two way conversation. The other thought is that when utilizing “live streaming”, make sure that the “question” from the audience is heard, or repeated by the speaker before giving the answer. It’s a small technical catch but an important one for the listening audience. On checking out a few candidate twitter profiles and Facebook pagers I was impressed more by the grassroots efforts of candidates for all there parties. There were some good examples of where these candidates actually engaged in real conversations with the voting public (or advocates for one cause or another). I am a big believer in answering a tweet or a post, regardless of whether I agree with them or not. I think that is the respect that campaigns should have for this dialogic media. I would love to hear others opinions. Other campaigns can learn from these pioneers. Cut the messaging and start the conversation. What is your perspective on social media and political campaigns ?  Cheers @FergDevins   @DevinsNetwork