When you think of the words “social media” and “politics”, is the next word that comes to mind “mom”? No? Well, it should be. Canadian moms are mobilizing for the upcoming Canadian Federal election with “Mom the Vote”.
If you’re Canadian (or even just friends with some Canadians on Facebook), you’ve probably noticed the bombardment of politically themed postings on your news feed. That’s because on May 2, 2011, Canada will have its 41st General Federal Election, to elect members of the House of Commons. The election was called on March 26th , 2011, by Governor General David Johnston when the Conservative government was defeated in a non-confidence motion in the House of commons which declared the government to be in contempt of Parliament. That may not mean much to Americans, but it is the first time a Commonwealth country’s government has been brought down by a contempt motion. In other words, the political battle is on.
In the same way that the upcoming 2012 American election promises heavy use of social media, the Canadian election is also witnessing all kinds of social media campaigns. However, many of them are aimed at young voters. But, not Mom the Vote.
The campaign was started when freelance writer Karen Green noticed that moms were talking online, but not about politics. So, she decided to get a group of women together to begin an online discussion, and they came up with the #MomtheVote hashtag on Twitter. The first use of the hashtag was used on April 6, 2011, and the tweet read:
“Do you know who you’re voting for? Do you know each of the parties’ stand on family issues? We need to #momthevote.”
The Facebook page states simply, “share election information, news, campaign updates and yes, even opinions through social media channels. We’ve already rocked the vote –now it’s time to Mom it.” With a straight forward Facebook page and Twitter hashtag, the movement isn’t complicated in either technology or execution. However, it is effective. Since the first tweet, there have been hundreds more from moms across Canada. The Facebook page which was launched last Thursday has over 27, 000 views and more than 900 posts. And, Mom’s matter. In fact, in the online world, they matter a lot.
They are considered one of the most powerful demographics in North America. According to post on Adweek by Brian Morissey “mommy bloggers” account for, “$2.1 trillion of U.S. consumer spending, controlling about 80 percent of household expenditures, according to BSM Media. They’re also active online: 87 percent use the Web regularly, per comScore. What’s more, 60 percent of their online conversations — the type of discussions also heard at playgrounds everywhere — include a mention of brands or products, according to a study done last year by BabyCenter and Keller Fay Group.” In other words, what moms talk about online matters. Surely, politicians will take note of this.
However, what’s important about Mom the Vote isn’t the potential for Mom’s to bring attention to their particular concerns. Instead, it is an example of social media use at its best. Social media can negatively impact our real lives; it can spread false rumours. Social media can have all kinds of negative impacts, but Mom the Vote reminds us that it can also be positive. By targetting social media at an atypical demographic, it gives a group of people – in this case moms – a forum to talk about what matters to them, and, one hopes, this might result in increased voter turn out. Mom’s know best, and when the use social media, they show just how useful a tool it can be.