The CBC is attempting to become more populist, attract younger viewers and utilize the internet. It’s a learn as you go proposition.
In May CBC staffersÂ went into Facebook with a idea – The Great Canadian Wish List, the brainchild of Taylor Gunn according to Blogs Canada.
ActivistsÂ could not have been moreÂ delighted and piled in.Â
Suzanne Fortin, author of the Big Blue Wave blog, has been one of the major driving forces behind the pro-life support of the Great Canadian Wish List through her blogs and storms of emails.
As the contest was approaching its climax, Fortin told LifeSiteNews.com, “The objective of our participation in this contest was to bring media attention to the cause of the rights of unborn children, and to make it known that large numbers of people do not feel that abortion is a ‘settled’ issue.”
She described the major media coverage, saying, “Numerous mainstream media outlets covered or mentioned this contest and the fact that pro-lifers had effectively mobilized. Countless blogs also covered the issue. Those who oppose legal rights for unborn children felt compelled to react to our mobilization and publicize the campaign.”
Other activists helping to grab the WishlistÂ wereÂ members of aÂ political party in Ontario calledÂ The Family Coalition Party.Â They contacted their friends, who contacted their friends, and so on and so on.
Grandinite has a great lesson on basic statistics and social online networking the CBC might want to read, Where The CBC Failed.
Self-selection bias in samples means that only the people who feel most strongly about an issue will respond to a survey.
1. Have a facebook account. â€“ Not everyone in Canada has one, and itâ€™s definitely geared towards higher-income, urban youth.
2. Have plenty of free time. â€“ Usually, students who have a low opportunity cost of time. If youâ€™re working 80 hours a week, youâ€™re using facebook as a communication medium, and thatâ€™s about it.
The CBC needs to understand several things about online polling.
1. You need to control for multiple responses by limiting the number of responses to one per IP address. Sure, someone could use proxy browsers and IP scramblers to bypass this, but such people are in the minority.
2. You must get demographic data on respondents, such as age, province of residence, income, gender, marital status, etc., and then compare these numbers to known population means and averages. If the CBC had done this with their Facebook poll, they would have likey found the demographic to be younger, low-income, single sudents.
For activists,Â 75Â mediaÂ stories on flooding CBC FacebookÂ is a big deal. Winding up being dutifully reportedÂ on CBC Newsworld and putÂ up onÂ YouTube is a big deal.
It’s a contest. People seem to lose sight of the fact. It doesn’t call itself a poll, it doesn’t claim to represent the majority of wishes.
This contest requires to get as many people as possible to vote for a wish. The wish with the most votes wins.
It’s not more complicated than that.
The pro-lifers were the most successful group in mobilizing. We won fair and square.
Counting the blogs that actually mentioned this is a lot tougher than counting media stories.Â A couple of different wordÂ searches on Technorati gives me about 700 posts, but it would require a lot more research to count them out.
So what are the results?
- Abolish Abortion in Canada (5,036 members)
- I wish that Canada would remain pro-choice (4,697 members)
- For a spiritual revival in our nation (2,335 members)
- I wish tuition fees would be either lowered or eliminated (1,932 members)
- Restore the Traditional Definition of Marriage (1,892 members)Â
- Full list here
The CBC blog isÂ unintentionally funny, an open example of naivety meeting Facebook interactivity, and a bit of a counter balance toÂ activist cyber-bullying.Â Â It took them awhile to figure out what hit them. Mike Wise:
Facebook is continuing to sort this out. In the meantime, thank you for your patience and participation. I work in live TV every day. I’m used to technical glitches, bad audio, poor quality video, unpredictable live hits – but in my journalistic career, I’ve never had to deal with a software glitch before. We’re trying our best with an experiment in trying something different. Let me thank all of you for taking part in this with us so-far. This is your wish list – your sounding board – your chance to talk up whatever you want with the rest of the country.
As we enter the final week, please keep it lively, keep it intelligent, and please, try to keep it polite (it is the Great CANADIAN Wish List after all).
CBC and Facebook do have the skills and the people to break down the raw data, pass it onto various university researchers in Canada and give us a realistic glimpse at how networkedÂ religious right activists are in North America.
ForÂ Canadians that took time to comment andÂ who thought this Facebook WishlistÂ would be an even playing field, meetingÂ Canada’s religious rightÂ is a new and for many, an unsettlingÂ experience.Â For those that wanted this to be fair, welcome to theÂ politics ofÂ social networking.
The Great Canadian Wish List ” Of particular interest to me has been the sentiments expressed inside the CBC over the whole thing. The announcement of the “experiment” was met with an add mix of optimism and vague cynicism.
Once the results started rolling in, this quickly escalated to panic and confirmed cynicism.
From the onset of this Canadian Wish List piffle, those of us who knew the scope and complexity of Facebook as a community and as a social mechanism sensed that CBC was trying to grab a tiger by the tail, with only two possible outcomes: we’d succeed by failing, our hands clutching thin air, and our “innovative interactive new media initiative” withering into familiar obscurity; or we’d fail by even modestly succeeding, hanging on for dear life as we were whipped around from one side of the internet to the other while someone more clever and more “nimble” rode our flapping coattails to arrive triumphant at a destination we would never have consciously chosen.
So congratulations to our anti-abortion pals and their success at gaming our little poll. Their tiny win, inconsequential from a Facebook perspective, will likely be touted across Canada for at least one news cycle.Â
‘Bout right, eh.:^)