Do you Facebook? Do you tweet? What about posting, sharing and commenting?
These are basic everyday terms and activities in our online world, but activities that conservative leaning Canadians are less likely to do when it comes to politics.
And that, my friends, could have been a factor in this last election.
Ipsos released a report last week that looked at social media engagement during the election campaign and it found Liberal and New Democrat supporters were more likely to push their political views on social media than Conservative Party supporters.
Only 15% of Conservative supporters said they were writing about politics on social media during the campaign compared to 18% of NDP backers and 19% of Liberals.
Liberals and New Democrats were also more likely to comment on political postings on social media.
But the really big imbalance comes in on sharing stories.
During the campaign, 34% of NDP supporters said they shared political content on social media. 32% of Liberals did the same, but just 24% of Conservatives.
That is a huge difference.
And when you consider that much of what was posted by the Liberals and NDP was all about stopping Harper, often posts filled with outright lies about his record, you know that is going to take a toll on the low information voter.
Think about it:
Your cousin Jim who doesn’t really pay attention to politics but is constantly seeing false postings about Stephen Harper turning Canada into a police state or taking protection away from all the lakes and rivers? Well, eventually Jim and other low information voters are going to take that in.
Conservatives need to get over being shy on social media. Like it or not, it is here to stay. It is part of life.
This study, by the way, also showed that Conservative supporters were much more likely to completely disengage from social media during the campaign.
Why would they do that and why are so many unwilling to push their political views? Liberals and New Democrats aren’t shy, so why Conservatives?
For the past several years I have heard anecdotally from people that lean conservative that they just don’t engage in political discussions online because it is too much hassle. The hatred and vitriol that comes their way when they do post is so intense and off-putting that they stop.
I get that. For all their talk of hating "divisiveness" and wanting to be "inclusive," you’ve never seen anything quite as divisive as a progressive dealing with facts that upset their worldview.
The facts of life are conservative. Reality is conservative.
As a movement, we have that on our side. I can’t say the Conservative Party always does, but conservative philosophy is sound.
As we deal with four years (and let’s hope it is only four years of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau) I want to do more here than just complain about his latest outrage.
We need to think, learn and build.
Part of that will be developing better social media strategies to spread a message that does resonate with Canadians. It will also require Canadians that support conservative ideals to stop being shy online.
You can start now by sharing this column on Facebook.
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