Canadians know they're the world's most avid users of the internet and social media, so it was only a matter of time before the country engaged in a national Tweetup for Democracy. Canadian organizations Leadnow and OpenMedia are co-organizing a cross-country Tweetup to bring people together, online and in-person, to share their thoughts on the parties and their platforms during the 2011 Leader’s Debate.
"Politics doesn’t have to be a one-way conversation. We want to spark a cross-country dialogue where people can weigh in, in real time, about how the candidates are responding to the issues that matter to them," said Leadnow Executive Director Jamie Biggar. "From poverty to climate change, there are many major issues that are being left out in this election. The Tweetup is a new way for Canadians to talk about the issues that matter to them."
While Canada has recently seen record lows in voter turnout, this so-called "social media election" has seen over 72,000 tweets so far. In fact, Canada boasts one of the world’s highest rates of internet and social networking usage, a trend which has contributed to the success of online campaigns, like OpenMedia's Vote for the Internet campaign.
"This Tweetup, like the Vote for the Internet campaign, is about allowing citizens and candidates to interact on a level playing field during this election, and later when public policy is being formed," noted Steve Anderson, OpenMedia's Executive Director. "The use of the Internet for citizen engagement serves only to reinforce its importance in for a healthy, vibrant democratic society. We hope that the leaders will consider this, and have Tweetup participants in mind as they lay out their platforms this Tuesday."
Canadians can participate in the Tweetup by following these hashtags: #db841, #yourcnda, #elxn41, and #votenet.