Online Profiler: Julia Banks & Graham Watt

We were asked to analyse two politicains community engagement for a class but I’m thinking I could do this more often. Let me know if this is something you’d like to see more off.

After a quick Google search, submitting a postcode, and reading about some politicians personal lives, I’ve found two of my members for parliament to be Julia Banks – Member Chisholm Graham Watt – Member for Burwood. Both Liberal party members and both taking different approaches to communicating with their electorate – let’s have a look. I’ll admit, when I think politicians I expected them to be everywhere doing everything to win everyone’s favour, in the case of Banks and Watt, I found they both use similar tactics but take bias to where they maintain their campaign strategies.

I pulled up both members Facebook and Twitter pages and right away and some immediate differences drew my attention:

Julia Banks (@juliabanksmp), has a Twitter profile, that’s for sure, but it’s rather inactive with only four tweets since the start of September and nine tweets for the entire profile. This profile isn’t verified so it could be argued that it’s a phoney account, or a last ditch effort to find a new channel for two-way communication. However, Banks has a rather active Facebook page with regular posts and plenty of images to document her actions around her electorate. Another notable tactic she used within Facebook was going LIVE when she presented a speech in the House of Representatives. People joined in on the stream, as seen by the time stamps, and made comments and praised her for her words to parliament in her maiden speech. 

Wrapping up Banks’ social media presence, there’s a link on her Facebook page that takes you to her personal web page where there’s more to do. With a clear and simple landing page, I believe this is where Julia conducts most of her work. She has clear links where you can go to contact her – or even organise a meeting – and sign up for her newsletter to stay up-to-date with her developing plans and progress in government. Overall Julia Banks makes a decent effort to communicate with her constituents, as seen through her community relations on her Facebook page and her openness to connect on her web page, an improvement she could make would be to reply to people more often in her Facebook threads to really push that communication to a new level and form more genuine relationships.

After looking at Julia’s Twitter profile I didn’t have much hope for Graham Watt (@GrahamWattMP), however, his profile shows yet another way a politician can sacrifice one platform to excel in another. Watt is very present on Twitter and communicates and interacts with his followers en masse. Firstly, Watt makes strong attempts to generate relationships on his Twitter: he retweets often – but relevant – posts, he tags other members of parliament in his posts and even takes the opportunity to vote in Twitter polls. Same as Banks, he takes the opportunity to take photos with the public and promote local events congratulate people on their success, in turn sharing these local achievements with his Twitter followers.

So what about his Facebook page? Well… it’s his… Twitter feed. Graham has linked his Twitter and Facebook accounts, which at a thought may not sound like a bad idea, but all of Watt’s posts on his Facebook page are formatted for Twitter, and in the realm of Facebook, fall flat because of this. Now this isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but the engagement on his posts are incredibly low, raking in upwards of only five likes a post. Another fallback is that, where on Twitter, his tags of other accounts link away, they don’t translate as well on his Facebook page, ultimately leading nowhere and looking clumsy from a Facebook perspective. Not to fret though because Graham Watt has something else up his sleeve…

Like Julia, he too has his own web page, let’s explore it. At a glance the landing page is very stock standard; linked tiles with appropriate graphics leading away to other pages on the site. Watt has all the relevant information someone looking to know more about him can find. I would strongly recommend Watt, if he intends to maintain an attractive Facebook page to dedicate more time to native Facebook posts and increasing his presence and communication through there, as well as reassessing his web page for optimisation and user functionality.



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