During the recent federal leaders debate organized by The Globe and Mail, the story was not about the leaders or policy-related issues. Rather, social buzz following the debate was all about a bell, a moderator, and “Old Stock Canadians”.
Interestingly, the leader mentioned most often in relation to the debate wasn’t even there. That’s Green Party Leader Elizabeth May who, excluded from the debate, took to Twitter (along with her supporters) to virtually insert herself into the fray.
Following the large amount of social commentary leading up to the event — along with exasperation on the part of Green Party supporters — news outlets even began predicting May would make herself heard during the debate.
And it showed in the Twitter data: leading up to the Globe debate on Sept. 17, the Green Party and May’s mentions were very steady (between 1 and 3k mentions per day). But on the day of the debate their Twitter mentions exploded:
Several prominent hashtags associated with May’s exclusion from the debate also began trending that day. The three hashtags — #glibandmale (3175 mentions), #UpforDebate (4295 mentions), and #boysclub (721 mentions) — all trended very highly.
All three seemed to be associated with May’s gender being one of the perceived reasons for her exclusion.
While May was perceived as the winner by several in the Twittersphere, it remains to be seen if she will be included in the upcoming Munk debates. But with the Green Party’s recent challenge to the CRA for her inclusion along with the vocalization of some of her opponents supporting her inclusion, we may be in for a surprise — and at the very least, we’ll know we’ll hear from the Greens on Twitter.