Social media and the election: Round-up Part II

For the past 30 odd days, we at J-Source have been on the hunt for innovative election coverage and analysis. The results of our search, as you may guess, have been plentiful. Read on for our round-up of what’s impressed us this week. And, remember, if you have seen anything you’d like us to highlight let us know via Twitter, Facebook, or e-mail. Less than one week to go!   

National Post‘s GeoPollster Canada
If you’re like us, you’ve been having plenty of fun with this one. And, that’s the idea. Canadians across the country can use their Foursquare account to take part in what the NP calls a “part real-world election game, part mobile polling experiment.”

So how does it work? After you log-in, you can select which party you currently support (the Post keeps your info private, of course). Then, every time you check into a Foursquare venue, GeoPollster counts your vote, adds it to the tally, and updates the data for each venue. Your vote helps your party “seize control” of venues — from restaurants to gyms, to whole cities and provinces.

For instance, the NDP has currently seized control of B.C., but the Liberals are still holding Shirtland Drycleaners in Vancouver. (There are also some glitches to the system; the Yukon, for example, is currently 90 per cent held by the Bloc.)

Speaking at the Canadian Journalism Forum last week, Chris Boutet, Post senior producer, digital media, told the crowd part of the reason the NP launched GeoPollster was because it found traditional polls “unsatisfying.”

CBC’s Vote Compass
Talk about participation. To date, more than 1.67 million responses have been tallied at Vote Compass. Not bad for 30-plus days.

In case you aren’t among the millions that have taken the survey and are wondering what it’s all about: Participants answer an online questionnaire on where they stand an certain election issues. Once they’re done, Vote Compass creates a graph showing their electoral position — and that of each political party. You can then see which party’s policies are, and are not, aligned with your beliefs.

While CBC describes itself as Vote Compass’s exclusive media partner, it takes care to say the site is also operated independently. It’s an important (and necessary) distinction. Vote Compass received plenty of criticism after it launched. One NDP staffer called it bogus, saying it steered supporters to the Green Party. Others criticized it for steering voters to the Liberal Party. (Questions were vetted by the parties before the tool launched; none raised concerns then) In the end, CBC sent a reporter out to investigate.

The Globe and Mail: Follow 308 ridings
For the 2011 election, the Globe went local. Super local. While it has continued to cover the election nationally as per usual, this time around it also gave readers the option to follow the race not as one whole but as 308 parts — one for each federal riding.

Only care about what’s going on in Dartmouth? Visit the Globe‘s page for past election results in the riding, current news, and a round-up of the latest tweets — plus all the statistical information you could ever want about the riding.

You’ll also find the Globe and Mail‘s prediction (made by its Ottawa bureau) for which way the riding is leaning. If your national knowledge isn’t tops, you might find some surprises here. After narrowly beating the riding’s Conservative candidate in 2008, Edmonton-Strathcona, for instance, is still leaning NDP according to “Globe Prediction”