Vision Vancouver vs The NPA Civic Election Social Media and SEO Scorecard

Gregor RobertsonPeter Ladner
Photo Credits: dogsbody and Brent Granby

Vision Vancouver’s Gregor Robertson’s campaign understood the internet, social media, and web culture much better than the NPA’s Peter Ladner’s did and that’s one of the many reasons he won the 2008 Vancouver civic election.

In this comprehensive post I compare and contrast the two Vancouver Mayoral candidates in the 2008 Vancouver civic election. Gregor Robertson of Vision Vancouver and Peter Ladner of the NPA in 25 different areas involving social media websites, (Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, Flickr and Friend Feed), various search engine results & web presence. Data was collected election day, Nov 15, 2008. I did a similar post comparing Barack Obama & John McCain in social media & SEO. I’m an adult ADHD coach and a former political science student and long time political junkie who’s been online since before the world wide web started.

Here’s what I’ll be showing you.

    9 overview slides of the data

Comparison chart of the data

Analysis and opinion

Links to Vision Vancouver’s and the NPA’s campaign’s social media profile pages

Overall conclusions

Social media lessons and resources

Links to Vancouver area blogs that cover politics

My 9 slides have an Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike Creative Commons license, so feel free to use them or remix them, just give me credit and a link.

Gregor Robertson vs. Peter Ladner on Facebook 1 of 2

Gregor Robertson vs. Peter Ladner on Facebook 2 of 2

Gregor Robertson vs. Peter Ladner on YouTube

Gregor Robertson vs. Peter Ladner on Twitter

Gregor Robertson vs. Peter Ladner on Flickr

Gregor Robertson vs. Peter Ladner on Friend Feed

Gregor Robertson Vs. Peter Ladner Google Image Google News Google

Gregor Robertson Vs. Peter Ladner Google Video Technorati Google Blog.

Gregor Robertson Vs. Peter Ladner Yahoo Links Inlinks & Pages In Google Index.Png

Social Media & Search Engine Results For Candidates Names in Quotes, Followers, and Activities
Social MediaWebsite
Gregor Robertson
Peter Ladner
% Lead
Facebook Search Results457362
Facebook Friends1,043490113
Facebook Wall Posts67067
Facebook Notes60658
Youtube Search Results705625
Youtube Videos Posted418350
Youtube Subscribers5740
Youtube Friends000
Twitter Search Results21969217
Twitter Followers15928468
Twitter Updates50166232
Flickr Search Results1,504468221
Flickr Photostream898252256
Flickr Contacts21100
Friend Feed Search Results315061
Search Engine Results For“Gregor Robertson”
“Peter Ladner”
Google 41,80028,30048
Google News4634356
Google Image2,7702,48012
Google Blog3,7173,4538
Google Video74689
Internet Presence For Gregor Robertson’s and Peter Ladner’s Offical Websites
Internet Presence
Gregor Robertson
Peter Ladner
% Lead
Pages in Google’s Index21913958
Yahoo Links-Pages48125886
Yahoo Links-Inlinks21990143
Google Pagerank44


This blog is usually about the strengths and challenges of adult ADHD, and trying to raise awareness of Adult ADHD in Canada, where we’re a decade behind the Americans, and Vancouver is way behind Ontario, sigh… and the world from the perspective of an Adult ADHD Coach who has Attention Surplus Condition more commonly called ADHD.

BUT I’m also a political science major and a politics junkie. So occasionally I’ll do posts on politics, humour, and other things that interest me. Disclosure, I’ve talked to both candidates briefly during the beginning of the 2008 Vancouver civic election.

Since the 2008 Vancouver civic election was so close the US Presidential election where I recently did a post called Barack Obama Vs. John McCain Social Media and Search Engine Scorecard, I decided to a similar post for the 2008 Vancouver civic election in my hometown. Congratulations to our new Mayor Gregor Robertson.

Social Media Websites


Gregor Robertson has 3 Facebook pages
1. His personal one.
2. His politician one, his word.
3. His Gregor Robertson and the Vision Team One. This is the one I’m measuring in the chart.

Peter Ladner seems to only have two,
1. His personal one
2. His Vancouver NPA one. This is the one I’m measuring in the chart because that’s the main one they seem to be using for the campaign. That being said, Peter has more friends on his personal Facebook page, 617, than he does fans on the Vancouver Non Partisan Association’s Facebook page, 488.

So I just compared the two official campaign pages. Peter Ladner has 8 videos in a YouTube box while Gregor only list 3 videos, less prominently on the lower right hand side. But he has 15 videos on YouTube. Why didn’t the Ladner campaign post the other 7 on their Facebook page?

Both Peter and Gregor allowed wall posts on their respective individual pages. Vision Vancouver’s online campaign team decided to allow wall posts on their Facebook page, unfortunately the Non Partisan Association did not. Being open and engaging in the community was probably part of the reason why Gregor Robertson had twice as many Facebook Friends as Peter Ladner. Too bad Peter Ladner wasn’t as interactive on his NPA page as his personal page. That was a lost opportunity to engage the Facebook community. Seemed here like an open source style campaign vs. the old fashioned tradition command and control one. Command and control doesn’t work so well online, look at what happened to John McCain.


Peter Ladner cranked out much more content on YouTube than Gregor Robertson did, more than 4 times the number of videos. Surprisingly, both candidates had very few subscribers on YouTube. Peter had 7, but for some reason refused to show any, Gregor had 4 and did list them. Both were smart enough to repurpose their videos by embedding them in their Facebook pages.

I went to a debate at the Greek Church on Arbutus and saw a videographer at the back filming it, later found out it was for the Ladner team. I assumed it was for ads or to improve their candidates speaking performance. I tried to ask a question about why everyone in the campaign was talking about the well known problems of addiction and mental health in Vancouver but no candidates or media outlets were talking about the links between undiagnosed and untreated ADHD and addictions. These links are well known among those knowledgeable about ADHD but less so in the general public. Unfortunately they didn’t ask that one.

The SMALLEST numbers I’ve seen on ADHD and addiction are 20-25% in peer reviewed clinical journals in Pub Med and I’ve seen much higher. For example see this as well as this, and this.

Kind of frustrating especially when the BC Liberal government and Children’s hospital closed down the only provincial Adult ADHD clinic in the province (where it’s very difficult to find someone that knows enough about ADHD to diagnose it) at BC Childrens hospital because it had a 1 year wait list, which was politically embarrassing.

Kill the wait list; avoid bad media coverage about long wait lists. I contacted various people in the BC NDP’s offices and got promises of action from several NDP staffers, who subsequently did absolutely nothing.

It’s easy to forget one big reason we have so many homeless people in Vancouver is the NDP emptied out large mental institutions because they were so “terrible” and decided to “house them in the community” then promptly abandoned them to the predators of the streets.

We got coverage of the adult ADHD clinics shutting their doors on BCTV, but no other media outlet covered it, and the only public BC adult ADHD clinic is still dead and the patients are still abandoned.


Gregor has nearly 5 times as many twitter followers than Peter, but Peter has 3 times as many Twitter update posts or tweets.

Gregor’s tweets (posts on twitter) were nearly all one way promotional broadcasts. He (or the person(s) that posted as him) only responded to other Twitterers 3 times and 2 of them were to his online campaign manager, @koriB. Sounded to me like Kori was talking to himself but I can’t be sure. UPDATE: Kori just mentioned in the comments it was Gregor doing the tweeting not him. But Gregor did technically follow 159 people. Whether he or his campaign staff actually read any of their tweets, responded to his followers or other’s Tweets or cared about interacting with those people, I couldn’t tell.

Most of the NPA’s tweets seemed to be mainly from/about NPA council candidate Sean Bickerton

The NPA’s tweets were 100% self promotional, not a single response to anyone else on twitter. They didn’t believe in the mantra of social media consultants and connected web strategists. Conversational media, means listen to conversations.
That is, they weren’t interested in following anyone else on Twitter, they didn’t even fake it, they had 0 followers. Obviously clueless about Twitter.

Vision Vancouver Twitter jacked Peter Ladner’s name on Twitter. That is, Peter and his campaign didn’t bother to register his name on twitter, (an internet rookie movie) so someone from the vision Vancouver camp registered his name and created a Peter Ladner account on Twitter, started putting out Tweets that insulted/made fun of Peter Ladner. This is why politicians and other visible people, businesses and other organizations should start learning more about social media, just as a defensive move if nothing else.

Frankly it was a clueless move. It’s one thing for a third party to do something like that like the brilliant Fake Steve Jobs did.

But for someone from the opposing campaign to do so and not create something like fakepeterladnder instead of using his real name is just not kosher, someone who did that in the US would probably get fired for it. Plus it irritated members of the local twitterati and others on twitter, especially Vision Vancouver’s seemingly unwillingness to apologize about it. It’s still up there, and was really counterproductive.

Hopefully our new mayor understands the lessons of what happens to arrogant politicians in BC, they get defeated. Miss 604 reports that #civicvote2008 is now the second most talked about topic on Twitter today.

It also got mainstream media coverage since Vancouver Sun Journalist and blogger Gillian Shaw is unlike most Vancouver journalists and has a blog and a twitter account, and unlike other Vancouver Sun and Vancouver Province journalists, she actually is clued into the blogosphere enough to have a blogroll with other non company blogs listed. Was also picked up by several blogs here are a few stories on it.

Most of the searches on Twitter for Peter Ladner seem to be related to Vision Vancouver’s campaign’s Twitterjacking of his name. Gregor (or his campaign) was smart enough to create an individual account on Twitter with his real name, which has no content but links to the Gregor08 Twitter page. Unlike John McCain, both candidates were smart enough to send out get out the vote tweets on November 15th, election day.


There was more than 3 times the number of search results for Gregor Robertson as there were for Peter Ladner on Flickr, and 256% more photos on Vision’s Vancouver Flickr profile page than the Vancouver NPA’s. Vision Vancouver’s group pool on Flickr had 9 members and 400 items; the NPA had no group pool.

Vision started using Flickr on Nov 16, 2007, the NPA first started using Flickr on Jul 6, 2007, so the NPA started 4 months earlier, plus the NPA has been a political party since 1937 (so you might assume they’d have more photos to upload). Vision just started up 3 years ago and the mayor was from the NPA, and they had more elected members than Vision, but still had fewer photos.

Probably those restless cultural creatives and young folk creating all that content. Also Vision’s online team seemed far more web 2.0 savvy then the NPA’s. Plus I think Vision’s policies appealed more to that crowd.

Using the web tools alone is not enough if your policies and past actions don’t resonate with those people creating and consuming content on those social media sites. Just as John McCain had George Bush as an anchor on his campaign, Ladner had his own anchor, Sam Sullivan, i.e., Sam’s Strike. But to be fair to Sam, he was a small anchor compared to George Bush.
Flickr was created in Vancouver and it’s a very popular photo sharing site, that many local blogger use to spice up their blog posts. I’ve posted creative commons licensed slides for this post on my Flickr set here.

Friend Feed

10 of the links to “Peter Ladner” was done by one user that had them removed, but still showed up in the Friend Feed search, so the actual number was smaller. Even still, more results for Peter Ladner. I didn’t check every single link on both, but in this case the last ones looked pretty similar by the same user. They probably just had trouble uploading the video file on blip TV.


I didn’t list MySpace activity on the chart, since neither candidate has any profiles on the site unlike Barack Obama and John McCain did on my previous post. There were only 6 search results for Peter Ladner, 4 for Gregor Robertson. When I searched for Peter Ladner on MySpace, there was an ad for Peter Ladner and the NPA. Interestingly, when I searched for Gregor Robertson, I found the same ad for Peter Ladner and the NPA. Maybe Gregor’s team was doing the same thing, I’m not sure.

Didn’t list results either, since there was such little activity there. There were 10 search results for Gregor Robertson on, 9 results for Peter Ladner.

Search Engine Results For “Gregor Robertson” and “Peter Ladner”

Gregor Robertson was elected as an NDP MLA in 2005. Peter Ladner was elected to Vancouver city council in 3 years earlier in 2002 and yet Gregor Robertson beat Peter Ladner in every search engine. His margin was biggest in google’s index, 48%, but not by that much in the other ones, around the 10% range. Keep in mind that more search engine results or user generated social media does not always mean that the results are positive towards the candidate, many are negative of both. The political blogosphere can be a tough place. One other thing to keep in mind is that bloggers are often content creators on other social media websites as well.

Quick Short Diversion to BC Provincial Politics

Gordon Campbell’s BC Liberal party is smart enough to realize this. The BC Liberals are encouraging their supporters to target bloggers on their website, and get involved in social media. I noticed that they’ve removed some BC bloggers from the list. I believe that bloggers and social media content creators will be even more important in coming civic and provincial elections, political campaigns will ignore them at their peril. The BC Liberal Party has got a very well designed and modern website, more similar to Vision’s than the NPA’s.

Carole James’s BC NDP’s website is quite antiquated in comparison, and is too clueless to even mention anything about blogs or social media on their get involved section. Look at the wording of their main URL,, home? Did someone create this website a decade ago and forget about it? It get’s worse. Look at the order of the URL’s on their top navigation bar, they’re all subdomains! I.e., instead of If you don’t know why this seems nuts, ask someone who knows SEO to explain.

This web 2.0 cluelessness will hurt the BC NDP in the upcoming election.. I guess the old fashioned left can be command and control too. Maybe they should hire Gregor’s online team quickly, the election’s in May 2009, not too far away. Also hire an SEO, same title tag for every page on the site? Which after permalinks is THE most important on page SEO thing you can do. Just like John McCain’s and Peter Ladner’s website. Perhaps being so unaware of the internet that your campaign has the same title tag on every page of your site is a predictor of electoral defeat:)

Compare the design and functionality of the BC Liberal Party’s get involved section to the NDP’s version. Which one would you be more likely to click through? Hire a usability expert too. The BC NDP’s website looks like a decade old. Looks like the BC NDP will be roadkill on the information superhighway in the upcoming election. Maybe the BC NDP needs to lose an election too in order to find a new leader the gets the internet and social media.

Responding to Bloggers

I can only give my personal example, not sure if/how the campaigns responded to other bloggers. If you blogged about the civic election and got a response from either campaign, let me know in the comments.

I recently did a post calling for the civic election candidates and the media to start talking about the connection between ADHD and drug addiction and crime and the lack of services for adults with ADHD in Vancouver, and calling for a mental health advocate. One member of Vision mentioned in a comment on my post that vision supported a mental health advocate while the NPA opposed it but ignored the main question of my post and never bothered answering my follow up question. At least they responded, the Ladner campaign never bothered to.

Internet Presence for Gregor Robertson and Peter Ladner

From just the 2 domains vs, Vision clearly wins in every category. But Vision only has one website. If you look at the Vancouver NPA site, they beat Vision’s in pages in google’s index 283 pages to 219, the NPA has less Yahoo Links-Pages 201 vs 481, but more Yahoo Links-Inlinks, 1281 vs 219. So if you combine both Peter Ladner’s site with the NPA’s one, they have a greater online presence then Vision Vancouver in 2 out the 3 metrics.

However Vision Vancouver’s website is superior in to both Peter Ladner’s and the Vancouver NPA’s website in:

Encouraging Engagement
Social media features

I’ll do another post later comparing the two main websites.

List of Gregor Robertson and Peter Ladner’s Online Profiles on Social Media Websites

Gregor Robertson’s Websites

Vision Vancouver’s Website
Gregor’s personal Facebook page
Gregor’s politician Facebook page, his word
Gregor Robertson and the Vision Team Facebook page
Gregor Robertson YouTube
Gregor Robertson Twitter page
Gregor Robertson’s Fake Peter Ladner Twitter Page (Twitter jacked)
Vision Vancouver’s Flickr Photostream

Peter Ladner’s Websites

NPA Vancouver website
NPA Vancouver Facebook page
Peter Ladner’s personal Facebook page
Peter Ladner YouTube
Peter Ladner Twitter
NPA Vancouver’s Flickr Photostream

Overall Conclusions

Of the 25 different metrics I used, Gregor won 17, Peter Ladner won 6, and they tied on two. Gregor Robertson was the clear winner. He won every single category in the search engines if you don’t add the 2nd NPA Vancouver website.

Gregor Robertson’s Online Campaigner was Kori Brus. who has a blog, and twitter account and is active online While the twitter jacking was a definite screw up, overall he performed far superior to his counterpart in Peter Ladner’s campaign, if in fact Peter did have a dedicated person for that. I couldn’t find out by googling it. Clearly not a good sign.

Both campaigns could have done better in engaging people on Youtube, Flickr and Twitter instead of just old fashioned push broadcasts. They both could have had created groups of individual on their website by demographics or areas like the Obama and McCain campaign did.

Social Media Lessons.

1. It’s important for a political organization, business, non profit that wants to get involved in social media websites like Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, Flickr etc to understand how the tools work, simply from a defensive point of view, even if you don’t plan on participating in them. I.e., avoiding getting Twitterjacked like Peter Ladner.

2.Why were both candidates so anti social on social networking sites that were designed specifically to allow people to, you know.. socialize?

Robertson did well on Facebook.

But look how many YouTube subscribers they both had. Look at how many YouTube groups they were members of. Zero.

Look at the how many photos they both posted on Flickr. Then compare how many contacts they had on Flickr. Look at how many Flickr groups they joined, ZERO.

Now look at the number of contact and groups this sociable local blogger’s has on Flickr.

If you’re creating all that content, LEVERAGE IT. And do so by being engaging with the community in a non pushy way. Google open source politics to see the way of the future.

If you’re an individual business person you may or may not want to get that involved in social networks because to do them right can take time and resources, or it may not be the right fit for you, or your resources are devoted elesewhere. Frankly I can’t picture myself spending time on MySpace, but I know some people love it.

3. It’s even more important to understand the ecosystem in which the tools are used.

For example flashy blinking graphics with extreme contrast are fine on MySpace, but would not be fine on LinkedIn. If you don’t understand the culture of the site and the users and how they interact with each other, you could be seen as an unwelcome outsider or a spammer, and have some really counterproductive results.

So if you decide to participate in a social media network, learn about the culture of the site and engage with the community. Barack Obama didn’t dominate John McCain in social media and on the internet simply because he understood the tools and McCain didn’t, he beat him because he understood the environments in which the tools were used, the users of those tools and used the tools to engage and organize people and to get them to engage and organize others.

If you don’t understand this, hire someone that does like a social media consultant.

Gregor beat Peter Ladner by a fairly wide margin for many reasons but in a close election a good website and blogging and social media strategy could make the difference between losing and winning. I’ve watched elections for 30 years some are really close. Smart politicians will get clued in or pay someone to help them get a clue, the dinosaurs that don’t will be adding another potentially dangerous vulnerability to their campaign.

Resources relating to why and how to get involved in Social Media

Social Media – Visual and simple images explaining trends, concepts and technologies driving Social Media growth

How do I convince my boss of the ROI of new marketing? David Meerman Scott answers the question via video.

A graphical categorization list of social media tools

Social Media & NonProfits: Make it Easy for Your Fans to Help You by local blogger and social media consultant Monica Hamburg

Alltop – Top Social Media News

E-Metrics: Followers, Friends, and Fans – Expanding Your Online Community By Beth Kanter

Vancouver Blogs That Cover Politics

Here’s a list of some blogs that cover politics in Vancouver that you might want to check out. I didn’t list politicians that blogged, since most of them just start up before the election, go dead shortly after and often just use blogs mainly as a press release device. This is by no means an comprehensive list, and it’s just of list of some blogs that I sometimes read or have searched to see who blogs about Vancouver politics. In listing them, I’m not saying I agree with what every blog on the list has to say.

I know some of the bloggers on the list personally from meeting them at the excellent Vancouver Bloggers Meetup Group, or other blogging/tech events around Vancouver of which there are many, Vancouver has a thriving tech/blogging/Web2.0 community Apologies in advance if I’ve missed your political related blog on this list, I’m sure I missed quite a few.

If you have an opinion on what you read on someone’s blog, agree, disagree (respectfully, not rudely), or have another related point to make, let the bloggers know in the comment section of the particular blog post. Bloggers love feedback. Including this one:)

Vancouver Political Bloggers or Occasional Political Bloggers

For Vancouver Sun civic politics reporter Frances Bula is in a class of her own. Read her first, and encourage her to fully join the blogosphere by adding a blogroll of local Vancouver bloggers:)

The others are in grouped in sections then alphabetically.

Vancouver Online Magazines

Georgia Straight Politics Blog
Only Magazine
The Tyee
The Vancouver Observer

Vancouver Group Blogs

Vancouver Metblogs
Vancity Buzz

Vancouver Primarily Political Blogs
Bill Tieleman
Keeping it Real
Left Eye on Vancouver
Oldtown News
Paying Attention
Pacific Gazette
Public Eye Online

Vancouver Blogs That Sometimes Discuss Vancouver Politics

Adult ADD Strengths
Loud Murmurs
Miss 604
Mori Therapy
Paul Hillsdon Yes he’s in Surrey but he does have some great material, and I hope he wins next time.
Rob Cottingham
Stephen Rees
Tris Hussey
Ursa Minor Bear 604
Van Rambling

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