Mar 2, 2013 / 9:06 pm
The deadline for Liberal leadership hopefuls to sign up new supporters for the party, and their candidacies, is Sunday.
But while each of the eight candidates will rely on their new recruits come ballot time, there is also the digital support base they've been building in recent months in the form of their following on social media.
Over the last six months, Justin Trudeau has signed up new Twitter followers at a rate far outpacing his rivals, gaining an average of 6,743 a month, with Marc Garneau trailing with an average of 886 followers a month.
As of late last week, Trudeau had 188,861 followers, Garneau had 11,840 and Hall Findlay had 7,511.
The number of followers definitely shouldn't be read as a digital coronation of Trudeau as Liberal king, said digital public affairs analyst Mark Blevis, who performed the social media analysis for The Canadian Press using a variety of different tools.
"Having a large follower base is important only because it means these people have committed to looking in on you, but how often do they actually do that?" Blevis said.
"What matters in the end is how many are going to put a checkmark next to your name."
While not every Twitter follower will equate to a vote when Liberals cast their ballots next month, social media can nonetheless be a vital tool for building supporter databases, vast pools of potential volunteers and donors.
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