Living in Ottawa, it can hard to escape the political drama that imbues the City, particularly around major events like budgets, throne speeches or the grand-daddy of them all, elections! So it’s a real good thing that I took to it so well, helped along with my work for a government relations firm that put me in the thick of it for nearly 10 years. Today, even as I enjoy my maternity leave and watching my little one learn about his world, I continue to keep one eye on the daily political machinations on the Hill.
My interest in federal politics is both in the policy work of federal departments and agencies, as well as the political angles spun by elected government and opposition officials. For these purposes, my favourite social media listening / monitoring tools are the email alerts of departments and agencies, and the Twitter feeds of the Minister and his or her counterparts in other parties. The email alerts offer the most comprehensive information on the department’s announcement, going into some detail on what the news is about and providing external links to related materials. The tweets from elected officials that accompany and follow the announcement reveal its political context and intent, and how well it passes muster in the political ring. Combined, they are a great indication of how well the government is doing on that particular file and are an early warning of potential weaknesses for the government going forward.
My favourite sources of Canadian political news are National Newswatch and Huffington Post Canada. National Newswatch is a political news aggregator with an emphasis on federal politics but with highlights of provincial news as well. It features a great deal of opinion pieces and makes a point of carrying the views of journalists and pundits from across the political spectrum. Huffington Post started as a political blog supported by only a handful of journalists over 10 years ago, and is now part of the White House press pool. HuffPost Canada was launched in 2011, and has been a prominent fixture on the political news scene ever since.
So, if you’re even a little bit of a political animal, these monitoring tools and news sources must be part of your listening tool box. For my purposes, they’ve offered the best combination of timeliness and background!