I was going to call this post “Laila Harre:A Twitter retrospective”. However, I thought that was a bit of a stretch, when she has less than 50 tweets to her name. Lets start with some basics. All stats were capture as at 15:45 29 May.
The first thing that I notice is that for the leader of The Internet Party, who are focused on using new media and technology to connect with younger voters, she hasn’t been on Twitter for much more than a year, and hasn’t sent many tweets. I know I am a highly active user, but I send on average twice as many tweets a day as Laila has EVER. If we compare her to MPs from the party she most recently worked for, the Greens, she has sent as many tweets in a year as their MPs send in a week on average.
Of those roughly 40 tweets, nearly 1 in every 2.5 isn’t even original content. For someone whose most recent jobs include the following descriptions:
Surely new media would play a key role in this sort of exercise? Is there a reason that until recently, Laila hasn’t felt the need to get a first hand understanding of the medium?
First thing to remember when you look at this graph that Laila joined Twitter in March 2013. Her first tweet wasn’t sent until 8 1/2 months later on 1 December 2013. There have been large periods of silence from Laila, until early May. Is this sudden increase in Twitter activity and indication of when serious discussion about her becoming leader of the Internet Party started? Was this a cynical play to start building a Twitter precense before becoming leader, or is it just a co-incidence that less than a month out from becoming leader of the Internet Party she decided to start using social media.
(UPDATE: Just been listening to the Laila Harre on Checkpoint on Radio New Zealand, where she has confirmed that it is only in the last month that she has been in discussions with the Internet Party.)
I do not doubt, for a minute, Laila’s skills as a political operator or organiser. However, I do have to question her leadership of the Internet Party. The party is trying to position itself to appeal to younger voters and the disaffected. It is trying to reach some of the reported 1 million who did not vote at the last election. Will selecting Laila Harre help them do that? Or has Laura McQuillan hit the nail on the head when she says:
It will be interesting to see how the Internet Party, Mana and Internet Mana go on voting day. As well, it will be worth watching how this three headed organisation manages to streamline and reconcile their social media presence.