As the campaigns hit the road (and the web), the UBC School of Journalism has launched an online project that tracks the social media buzz around the election.
NetPrimeMinister.ca aggregates blog content, YouTube videos, Twitter comments and Flickr photos about the race, according to Alfred Hermida, a professor in the university’s journalism school. He says the project offers “a different perspective on the race to be Canada’s next prime minister.”
NetPrimeMinister is similar to a tracking website called TechPresident, which is a U.S. non-proft organization that has created a tracking tool for the Canadian elections. B.C. online magazine The Tyee, has teamed up with TechPresident to create online charts to track the candidates activity online.
Hermida told the Tyee that while tracking the activity is interesting and fun, its important not to read too deeply into online support. He said:
“There is a danger in extrapolating what is happening on Facebook to
what will happen on election day. Look back at Howard Dean
and how he used the Internet to galvanize support four years ago. If
you’d looked purely online, you’d think he was the ideal candidate. But
he didn’t do that well over all.”