Twitter as a Digital Broadcaster in Canada

June 9, 2018
Dustin Manley

Velocity and brevity. These two traits serve as the foundation of Twitter’s unprecedented utility as a digital communications tool for journalists, politicians, and media organizations.

During the Sunday plenary discussion at the CPRS National Conference, Cam Gordon, Head of Communications for Twitter Canada, and Tara Wickwire, Senior Director at NATIONAL Public Relations, discussed Twitter’s introduction to—and investment in–Canada through their Toronto office in 2013 and its partnership strategies with our country’s media organizations and brands.

“Come for the NHL and stay for the political discourse.”

This, as Cam Gordon jokingly puts it, was Twitter’s strategy in growing their presence through the Canadian market. Leveraging their unique ability to live micro-blog sports, Twitter has grown their Canadian presence in news, politics and reality television.

Augmenting the traditional broadcast experience through live streaming a “second screen experience” Twitter has forged strong media partnerships with the Winter Olympics (making Canada the first to live-stream the event on Twitter), CBC’s The National, TVO’s The Agenda with Steve Paikin, the Juno Awards, and the 2018 Ontario Election Debates.

Civic affairs are an area where Canadian Twitter users are surprisingly active and engaged, notes Gordon. Twitter actively informs Canadians about the weather across the country, builds excitement and engagement through events such as the Calgary Stampede, and brings the entire nation together through more somber events such as Humboldt bus crash.

While questions about Twitter’s policy and plans to combat vitriol were met with diplomat pivoting, Gordon noted that Canadian politicians like Calgary Mayor Nenshi and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau are adept at using the platform—with some assistance from public relations and communications professionals–to find their “true voice” and engage in perceptibly more authentic ways with constituents.