Twittergasm: The Ontario Liberal Government's Attempt to Fake Grassroots Excitement
May 6, 2011 by Paul McKeever
I admit it. Though I have usually been an early adopter of such things as YouTube and Facebook, I only recently took an interest in Twitter . Having observed, for weeks, the sort of nonsense that is posted with the most popular Ontario provincial political hashtag, #onpoli, I regret to inform you, dear reader, that Twitter’s influence on Ontario provincial politics must arguably be so tiny as to be unmeasurable. There are several “tweets” about such things as Liberal government announcements. However, as I am about to demonstrate, they amount to the equivalent of false orgasms of a verbal variety, deliberately uttered in an attempt to create the equally false impression that the non-partisan public is excited by the Liberal government’s plans.
Take, as the most recent example, the McGuinty government’s announcement, today, that the province will offer two new vaccines as part of its immunization program. The link to that government announcement was tweeted no less than 32 times this afternoon. Do I hear you thinking “that’s actually impressive” or “wow, people are really excited about two more immunizations”? Well, who could blame you when twitterers (twits?) like one Paris Meilleur are tweeting that the announcement is “Pretty darn awesome”; or when fellow twit Kate Julien exclaims “Rock on!”?
“Pretty darn awesome”. Seriously?
“Rock-on!”. Oh, give me a break. I refuse to believe that anyone is truly that weird or boring.
That such poorly-acted twittergasms are being pretended at all, by anyone, becomes less surprising when one does a bit of research into the backgrounds of those who are faking it. What follows is a list of everyone – that’s right, *everyone* – who tweeted about the immunization announcement this afternoon, and who tagged their tweet with the popular hashtag “onpoli”:
Grahame Rivers: Social Media Coordinator in the Office of the Premier of Ontario (source: twitter)
Jane Almeida: Press Secretary to Premier of Ontario, Dalton McGuinty (source: twitter)
Leslie O’Leary: Associate Press Secretary in the Office of the Premier of Ontario (source: twitter)
Associate Press Secretary in the Office of the Premier of Ontario
John Wilkinson (Liberal MPP – Environment Minister)
Laurel Broten (Liberal MPP – Minister of Children and Youth Services)
Bob Chiarelli (Liberal MPP – Minister of Infrastructure)
Seirge T. LeBlanc: Press Secretary for the honourable Bob Chiarelli, Minister of Infrastructure at Ministry of Infrastructure (source: linked in – http://ca.linkedin.com/pub/seirge-leblanc/12/bb/32 )
Brad Duguid (Liberal MPP – Minister of Energy)
Deb Matthews (Liberal MPP – Minister of Health & Long-Term Care)
Paris Meilleur: works for Ontario’s Minister of Health & Long-Term Care Deb Matthews (source: Twitter)
Megan Primeau: Staffer for Deb Matthews, Ontario’s Minister of Health & Long-Term Care. (source: twitter)
Christine Lall: Minister’s Office, 416-325-0238, Ministry of Consumer Services (Ministry of Consumer Services).
Andrew Campbell: Director of Communications at Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing (source: linked-in – http://ca.linkedin.com/in/andrewmcampbell)
Laura Blondeau: Director of Communications at Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing (source: http://ca.linkedin.com/pub/laura-blondeau/1a/6a/a96)
Joanne Ghiz: Communications Officer, Ministers Office at Government of Ontario (source: http://www.jigsaw.com/scid34574104/joanne_ghiz.xhtml ); Ministry of Northern Development, Mines and Forestry (source: http://news.ontario.ca/mndmf/en/2011/04/supporting-the-forest-industry-in-greenstone-and-haileybury.html )
Cassandra McKenna: Scheduler in the Ministry of Education (Source: http://www.infogo.gov.on.ca/infogo/office.do?actionType=telephonedirectory&infoType=telephone&unitId=UNT0002169&locale=en )
Annette Phillips: Communications Director to John Milloy, Minister of Training, Colleges and Universities (source: twitter)
Thomas Chanzy: Senior Special Assitant Francophone Affaires Office of the Honourable Madeleine Meilleur ( http://www.nataliagnecco.com/index.php?option=com_k2&view=item&id=140:ontarios-challenge&lang=fr )
Jessica Voin: Communications Assistant for the Kitchener-Center MPP John Milloy (source: http://theimprint.ca/archives/1347 )
Mora Carruthers: Scheduler at Government of Ontario (source: http://ca.linkedin.com/pub/mora-carruthers/32/a35/7a7)
Brian Whitmore: “N/A at Government of Ontario” (source: http://ca.linkedin.com/pub/brian-whitmore/28/43a/787
Fahim Kaderdina: Communications Advisor at Ontario Liberal Party, Central Campaign 2007 (Source: Linked-in – http://ca.linkedin.com/in/fahimkaderdina )
Kate Julien: Ontario Liberal Youth Honourary Senator (2010) (Source: http://www.oyl.org/the-oyl/oyl-honourary-senators/)
Vijay Sappani: Organiser and fundraiser for the Liberal Party (source: http://www.vijaysappani.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=1&Itemid=2 )
Kayla Lewis: (former?) Executive Vice President of the Ontario Young Liberals (source: http://ontario.liberal.ca/files/2010/06/May-2008-LPC_O_-Newsletter-English.pdf )
Richmond Hill Liberals: the Provincial and Federal Young Liberals of Richmond Hill. (source: twitter)
PerthWelliPLA: Perth-Wellington Provincial Liberal Association (source: twitter)
Ryan Bird (1010 AM Toronto*)
With the possible exception of Ryan Bird, everyone tweeting and retweeting the announcement was a Minister in the Liberal government of Dalton McGuinty, an employee of the Liberal government of Dalton McGuinty, or is/was active with the Liberal Party. What’s absent? Interest from the general public. Not one tweet. Heck: not even a tweet from any of the Progressive Conservative or NDP MPPs.
There was one exception: my own tweet, which read “McGuinty’s answer to lack of remedial health care: pump kids full of additional vaccines (“preventive medcn“): http://bit.ly/lzEp3f #onpoli ”
I would like to be able to tell you that the almost-exclusively-Liberal tweets about the immunization announcement were a rare fluke. I cannot tell you that. Simply read the things posted with the #onpoli hashtag each day and – with the exception of a small handful of obsessive compulsive environmentalists and independent candidates for MPP – most of the twits are Liberal government Ministers and taxpayer-funded government employees clearly being paid, in part, to create the false impression that there is grass-roots excitement about the McGuinty government.
I, for one, want a reimbursement for the time each of those government employees takes taxpayer-funded time out of their jobs to participate in this daily twittergasm charade. Perhaps a better term for this scandalous, Liberal, taxpayer funded weasel-fest would be twittergate?
*I am advised the Ryan Bird is no longer associated with 1010 AM Toronto.