PM’s online campaign opts for frat-boy bully ad technique.
After triggering a general election last week, Stephen Harper revved up the Conservatives' reliably ineffective online campaign.
On one side, the prime minister's social networking sites are dull, tedious, bland and any other words that denote boring. On the other, his official sites read like an ode to frat culture, with in-your-face humour and oafish insults.
The microblogging service that publishes blogs of no more than 140 characters, sent online or by text message, has been a popular feature of Barack Obama's campaign and is expanding its reach into politics and media at an astounding rate.
Harper should of course be congratulated for being the first of the party leaders to embrace this new(ish) technology but also excoriated for not knowing how to use it.
Take, for example, what the Harper campaign sent out September 7 at 5:48 am on his Twitter feed: "PM speaks to Canadians about the choice facing Canadians."
The entry is frustratingly meaningless: Which Canadians is he speaking to before 6 am on a Sunday from Ottawa? How many choices do those Canadians have to make before the sun rises? And why, in the space of 57 characters, does he have to repeat the word "Canadians"?
It makes it very hard to say aloud without sounding goofy.
After his Twitter experiment, Harper (or his online help) then dialed up his Facebook account, editing his profile to tell his supporters that "he can rock." Also, he likes the Beatles and owns an original vinyl version of Fleetwood Mac's Tusk.
And did anyone realize the PM's "cinematic tastes are wide ranging"? Really! Even my MacBook went into sleep mode while reading this.
On his official leadership page, however, the polar opposite: macho bluster, facile attacks and obnoxious design. The site is as pleasant to look at as a used condom.
This is par for the course for a Harper Web campaign. Either he's Twittering about mulch or blowing up the Internet with adolescent hijinks.
To be fair, the prime minister isn't the only Canadian politician who's bungled an Internet campaign. But he's becoming the most notable.
Why does it seem like the rest of the world's politicians are moving forward with creative and engaging online campaigns while our prime minister can barely build a decent Facebook profile?