CBC Facebook meets activists in The Great Canadian Wish List

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 staffers went into Facebook with a idea – The Great Canadian Wish List, the brainchild of Taylor Gunn according to Blogs Canada.

Activists could not have been more delighted and piled in. 

The owner of the The Big Blue Wave, a blog and a blog aggregator for anti-abortionists, was thrilled when they bumped their agenda to the top of the CBC Facebook experiment. Lifesite:

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 Wishlist were members of a political party in Ontario called The Family Coalition Party. 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. – Not everyone in Canada has one, and it’s definitely geared towards higher-income, urban youth.
2. Have plenty of free time. – Usually, students who have a low opportunity cost of time. If you’re working 80 hours a week, you’re using facebook as a communication medium, and that’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, 75 media stories on flooding CBC Facebook is a big deal. Winding up being dutifully reported on CBC Newsworld and put up on 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.  A couple of different word 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?

  1. Abolish Abortion in Canada (5,036 members)
  2. I wish that Canada would remain pro-choice (4,697 members)
  3. For a spiritual revival in our nation (2,335 members)
  4. I wish tuition fees would be either lowered or eliminated (1,932 members)
  5. Restore the Traditional Definition of Marriage (1,892 members) 
  6. Full list here

The CBC blog is unintentionally funny, an open example of naivety meeting Facebook interactivity, and a bit of a counter balance to activist cyber-bullying.  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 networked  religious right activists are in North America.

For Canadians that took time to comment and who thought this Facebook Wishlist would be an even playing field, meeting Canada’s religious right is a new and for many, an unsettling experience.  For those that wanted this to be fair, welcome to the politics of social networking.

The Tyee: Is CBC’s New Populism Perverted?
CBC insider blog: The Tea Makers:

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.

and this…

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.

(deep breath)

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. 

‘Bout right, eh.:^)

About Bene Diction

Have courage for the great sorrows, And patience for the small ones. And when you have laboriously accomplished your tasks, go to sleep in peace. God is awake.
This entry was posted in General. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to CBC Facebook meets activists in The Great Canadian Wish List

  1. Pingback: University Update - YouTube - CBC Facebook meets activists in The Great Canadian Wish List

  2. Pingback: Bloggers skew Canadian Historical society poll - Worst Canadian at Bene Diction Blogs On

Comments are closed.