It started innocently enough.
While checking out my twitter feed, something came by from the Christy Clark twitter feed sending followers to the new public service announcement on bullying.
I bit, clicked… and ended up on the BC governments newest website, paid for with your tax dollars:
Hmm….. what’s this all about? From the About page:
Heart and soul
British Columbia has over 4.4 million people. Chances are – you’re one of them. When it comes down to it, you’re what make this province go ’round.
We’re working in government and we help this province go ’round by making life for BCers better. We’re pretty good at announcing new ways for serving British Columbians: new programs, new funding, new services and new ideas, or just cool stuff happening around BC. And while these announcements are great, our focus is the ‘flipside’ of these stories – the people. Everyone hears the single of a record, but it’s the b-side that has the heart and soul.
We want to tell the story of the mom spared a paperwork nightmare, the artist who can concentrate on their work instead of where the next rent cheque is coming from, the 95 year old king of swing who’s ‘still got it’ and the apprentice who just finished framing her first house. We want to tell your story.
Shades of OMG!!! How altruistic! How engaging! How… propaganda-ish!!
Seriously, I had to laugh. Considering how often Clark has mocked bloggers as unreliable news sources… somebody in the public affairs bureau realised the power of this specific form of social media.
But here’s the catch: this isn’t a real blog… it is nothing more than a BC Government website touting BC government news under the guise of being a blog, pure and simple.
What’s more, it is clearly designed to appeal to the Über mummy crowd..(and regular mommies.).. ie..both part of the one voting demographic Christy Clark has been unable to connect with – women – matter how many times she hauls her son out for a photo opportunity and talks about motherhood like she invented it.
Clicking through the site is even more revealing… the Blogroll is a collection of banana bread, granola friendly fashionable motherhood sites to foodie hangouts, to arts and crafts and more…. oh wait.. don’t forget to click on the Get to Know your Government section!
First…small kudo’s to the government for finally acknowledging that blogs,and bloggers can be incredible influencers on public opinion when factual and well run.
Second.. I happen to be a mother, and in no way am I attempting to disparage any of the mommy sites( or others) that the government site links to. They aren’t my ‘thing’ but I do recognize many mothers, particularly new moms, gravitate towards these sites to connect with other moms, find tips, recipes, etc…
But let’s face it, this site is not really about moms or families… it’s about making the premier ( and by association, the party behind her) with one of the worst approval ratings in history look more family oriented and less heartless and disconnected.
However…where the epic fail occurs on this propaganda “blog” is on the Contact page,where one is reminded how insidious this uber Mummy blog really is:
Social Media Collection Notice
The personal information you post may be collected by the Ministry of Citizens Services and Open Government under s. 26(c) of the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act for the purposes of engaging and consulting with the public. Please be aware that any information collected may be stored and/or accessed outside of Canada on servers not belonging to the government.
To protect your own privacy and the privacy of others, please do not include any personal information including phone numbers and email addresses in the body of your comment. Please do not share personal information about others. If you have any questions about the collection of your personal information, please email email@example.com
Hmm… suddenly… the friendly mommy blog isn’t so generic anymore. How many people really read those disclaimers? And how many of those people who do end up visiting and leaving personal information.. like names and emails… might end up on some voter “outreach” contact list? Might get an friendly email, or call or flyer perhaps?
Because as we’ve heard today… that’s really what these Liberals are all about… using government resources to further party politics and this coming election campaign. Calculated? Cunning? All of the above?
Time for a little reality check.
There is a very big difference between real bloggers… and paid bloggers.
In particular, paid mommy bloggers who work for the BC Government for the sole purpose of making connections with the demographic that Christy Clark remains so disconnected with.
It leaves me with even more disdain for this government, because this ‘blog’ is nothing more than the government version of the kind of stealth marketing used so often by companies like Enbridge et al.
Designed and written specifically to make you feel like this really is a families first government – when in reality, the same government behind this pseudo blog is the same one behind the tragic cuts coming to adults dealing with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome and autism.
The same old government behind the ongoing inadequate funding to kids with special needs, the extraordinary wait times for treatment and therapy, the increase to medical services plan fees, cuts to family justice services… should I go on?
I wonder what all the mommies reading this propaganda blog would say about that?
And what they would say about money being spent to fund a blog like this,with paid writers, government staffers in effect, registered only on January 25th of this year…
…rather then directing those funds to any of the truly families first needs above?
Following my complaints, via email communications, the BC Bsides blog appearance changed in several manners, one important one being that it now readily identifies itself as a government blog on the home page.