Meili 2.0: Party Renewal In The Information Age

I slipped over to the University today to sit in on the press conference for Ryan Meili's official launch of his campaign videos.  The release of these videos was tied into the larger theme of the changing role of technology and especially its abiility to level the playing field in modern politics. (See his press release below.)

Of course, all of the NDP leadership candidates are doing the tech things you'd expect in this day and age – having a web site, having a Facebook page, having online donation forms – but Ryan has taken his use of technology to another level with a personal blog, a Twitter account, an up-to-date Wikipedia page, tribute videos from supporters, more pictures on Flickr than any other candidate plus his utilization of a popular online project management system for his behind-the-scenes communication with campaign staff and volunteers. 

And of course, his YouTube videos which are probably the single best demonstration of any of the campaigns' embracing and understanding of Web 2.0 technology that I've seen.  (Online broadcasting is a personal interest of mine so I'm following this aspect of the campaign particularly closely.) 

(I just noticed that Dwain Lingenfelter's Wikipedia page has finally gotten a long overdue update after being pretty basic, even up to…(looks at page history)…today actually!  And honestly, if i had to pick a winner just based on the look of their sites, Deb Higgins' site is really well-designed.)

Ryan's press release announcing his campaign videos [Edit: I used a draft of the press release originally and have replaced it with the final version.] and the role of Web 2.0 in his campaign is after this brief message…

May 12, 2009

NDP leadership candidate Ryan Meili wants to reach a new generation
of political activists. To do so, he’s using the power of online social
networks to change the way politics is practiced in Saskatchewan.

Today, the campaign officially released a series of digital videos
on party renewal, agriculture and rural life, the environment, First
Nations and Métis issues and health care. Meili hopes that his
supporters will promote the videos across their online social networks
and in the blogosphere.

“When M.J. Coldwell and Tommy Douglas were building our party, they
depended on people sharing the CCF story and vision with their friends
and neighbours,” said Meili. “We’re just doing the same thing in a 21st
century way. Online communities created through social networking allow
people with common political values to organize and to inspire each

The rise of social network sites like MySpace and Facebook has had a
profound effect on election campaigns in the United States. Although
federal parties in Canada have successfully adopted some of these
techniques, the use of new technology in Saskatchewan politics has been
limited to fairly staid websites. The use of online video in
Saskatchewan has been limited to posting traditional political speeches
on YouTube.

“The Meili campaign is different because it’s exploiting the full
potential of the Internet as a campaign tool,” said Dr. Chanchal
Bhattacharya, an Alberta political scientist who studies the use of new
technology in political campaigns. “Three of the campaigns are using
the internet like it’s still 2000. Despite very limited resources,
Meili is effectively using Web 2.0 social media like YouTube and
Facebook to reach new voters and energize existing ones. It’s a
21st-century Saskatchewan campaign.”

It isn’t just the mode of delivery that’s new. The videos are also
different from the usual political commercial, online or otherwise.
More like short documentaries, the videos tell the stories of people
from across Saskatchewan; north and south, rural and urban, young and

According to Meili, “This is a test run for the next election
campaign, where we will use technology to share the voices of real

“These online tools equalize the playing field and empower those who
were once excluded from the political process,” says Joshua Hannigan of
Loud and Clear Marketing and Communications, the producer of the
videos. “Social media will be one of the most important tools in the
next election. Electoral success will depend on using these tools to
their full potential.”


Malcolm French
(306) 550-2277
504 – 20th Street West
Saskatoon SK S7M 0X5
(306) 370-4334

Comments 3

  1. Anonymous wrote:

    I don't know why you left out the best line of the Bhattacharya quote: “Three of the campaigns are using the internet like it’s still 2000.”

    Posted 16 May 2009 at 4:40 am
  2. Anonymous wrote:

    Ha! I grabbed the press release off Ryan's Facebook page so perhaps that was an earlier draft. If you e-mail me the final version (, I'll post the updated version.

    Posted 16 May 2009 at 4:46 am
  3. Anonymous wrote:

    Got the proper one off Ryan's web site – thanks for catching that!

    Posted 16 May 2009 at 1:45 pm

Post a Comment

Your email is never published nor shared. Required fields are marked *

%d bloggers like this: