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Layton leads on Facebook; Harper ahead on Technorati

NDP leader Jack Layton narrowly leads Prime Minister Stephen Harper – in the contest to win Facebook friends.

Liberal leader Stephane Dion is a close third, Green leader Elizabeth May is a distant fourth, and the Bloc’s Gilles Duceppe is barely in the running on Canada’s most popular English-language social networking site.

Harper holds a sizeable lead on Technorati, however, while May, Dion and Layton vying to be Canada’s second-most-blogged-about PM candidate.

Those are the results from TechPresident’s new tracking charts of Canadian Prime Minister Candidates.

“While I would never suggest that this is the same thing as a poll, or that it provides anything like a representative sample of the population, I do think this provides a window into the minds of people who tend to be more politically active than average,” said Micah Sifry, of TechPresident, a U.S. nonprofit that – with input from the The Hook – has created online charts showing how Canada’s leadership candidates are performing in the virtual world.

“The web is a useful early warning system, a barometer for understanding where excitement and interest lie, especially among political activists,” Sifry told The Tyee. “There is a definite correlation between the kinds of people who read and write on blogs, and the kinds of people who are more likely to donate to candidates or volunteer on campaigns.”

Sifry, who has closely followed the use of technology for the past several U.S. presidential cycles, said these networks are also helping to bring about profound change within American politics.

“What’s new is that is the control of the campaign is no longer just in the hands of the campaign,” Sifry said. “Tens of thousand of activists are realizing that they can co-create the campaign. If you have a compelling message, all you have to do is put it up on You Tube.”

Read more about the political influence of social networking sites on today's 'Tyee.

Also check out NetPrimeMinister, a blog aggregator posted by the UBC School of Journalism.

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