No social media smarts? Don’t bother running

If you’ve checked your Twitter or Facebook feeds in the past seven weeks, you’ve been exposed to some of your friends and family’s political beliefs because of the federal election.

It’s likely there have been more then a few relationships strained by political discussions spurred by these posts.

You may have even wanted to un-follow that in-your-face uncle or old high school classmate because of their incessant posts with questionable evidence from the outskirts of the political spectrum.

During this election the importance of social media in Canadian politics hit a new high.

There were more than seven million tweets related to the federal election since it began, according to Steve Ladurantaye, head of news and government partnerships at Twitter Canada.

It has been a hilarious, informative, and sometimes a sad roller-coaster ride.

The overtly racist posts that appeared on my Facebook wall, spurred by a ridiculous debate about on whether a handful of woman should be allowed to wear a Niqab during the Canadian citizenship ceremony after they have been clearly identified; let’s file that under the “sad” category.

Clearly there were more important issues to worry about and our leaders should try to unite us instead of attacking a small group.

In the funny category is Jerry Bance, who withdrew his candidacy from the conservative campaign after a video surfaced of him peeing in a clients coffee mug and pouring it down their kitchen sink. Social media did not go easy on Bance.

When there were mistakes made by one of the candidates or political parties, social media made the damage exponentially worse.

There were social media posts made by candidates on the campaign trail that threw campaigns in to damage control modes.

There were also old social media posts made years ago by candidates that were dug up by journalists and bloggers at the bewilderment of party leaders who thought they had a better vetting process in place.

Some candidates were forced to leave their party, others decided to throw themselves on the sword.

In politics today, it seems, if you don’t have social media smarts, you may as well not even try, unless you’re OK with being fodder for the social media fighting pits in Canadian politics.

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