By mobilizing potential voters and personalizing his campaign via social media, Justin Trudeau used digital technologies to his advantage in Canada’s federal election last year.
Trudeau appeared relatable on social media in his openness to having selfies taken with potential voters. Photo: Canadian Press
When Justin Trudeau won the leadership position of Canada’s Liberal Party in 2013, social media was widely viewed as a key element of his success (Gruzd and Roy 2014). The use of social media in political processes and debates, however, was not new at the time. While few candidates were committed to using social media to its full potential in the UK’s 2010 general election (Southern and Ward 2011), Barack Obama’s exploitation of social media in America’s 2008 primary and presidential election continues to be heralded as the model for the full potential of digital technology in an election campaign (Strömer-Galley 2014).
Today, the use of social media in political campaigning has become seemingly prevalent; it is valuable to examine how – if at all – it is changing the nature of election campaigning. In order to explore this topic in-depth, I have chosen one political campaign to analyze.