Tuit-Tuit: Mexican Party Holds Twitter Contest To Improve Governance

The #LogrosPAN hashtag

This is a guest post from Julian Quibell, NDI’s resident senior program manager in Mexico. You can meet Julian on Twitter or Facebook.

Mexican political parties have increasingly used communication and information technologies (ICTs) -- particularly social networks like Facebook and Twitter -- as a low cost means to broadcast information to their members and the broader public. Our team here at NDI in Mexico has been working with all major political parties, in government and the opposition, to adopt new practices that harness the power of these tools not only to inform, but also to consult and mobilize around their causes.

An excellent example of these innovative uses of ICTs can be found in a recent online competition put on by the Outreach Secretariat of the National Action Party (PAN). Born of an idea shared by our team at NDI, the PAN designed an online competition that increased the number of users (followers, fans) on the party's various social media accounts, transmitted thousands of positive messages about PAN achievements over the last decade, and provided the party a broad base of feedback on different issues of public concern (education, the economy, public security, etc.).

Here's how it worked:

In May, the PAN announced that it would hold a month long competition (June 1-30, 2011) called #PANAchievements: a decade of better government (#LogrosPAN: una decada de mejor gobierno). To win, participants needed to accumulate points by "tweeting" messages with the #PANAchievements hashtag and having their messages "re-tweeted" by others. The winner would receive an iPad and public recognition from the party president.

The party began by generating model messages from its own institutional accounts, but, within hours, hundreds of supporters had joined in, transmitting creative messages about their views of the good work of PAN governments across the country. By the end of the month, the competition had generated 135,000 tweets from more than 2,600 contributors. As a result, #LogrosPAN was one of the most used hashtags ("trending topic") on Twitter in Mexico on at least two separate occasions.

As a result of the contest, (once skeptical) party leaders took note of the benefits of this online platform as a low-cost way to engage citizens and motivate them to share their ideas on issues of public concern. The data accumulated from the competition will allow the PAN to refine and target their messages, reach a broader audience for future initiatives, and mobilize citizens to participate in face-to-face activities such as town hall meetings, policy discussion circles and forums.

Here are some examples of the messages transmitted with the #LogrosPAN hashtag:

  • "International reserves have reached highs during present administration. #LogrosPAN"
  • "#LogrosPAN In 2000, 51.8% of the population 15 years and older were under-educated. By 2010, that decreased to 40.7%. 11.1 points in 10 years!"
  • "The price of milk went from 43% inflation rate in the last years of the PRI to 6% for the PAN governments #LogrosPAN."
  • "#security Vetting and strengthening the police and judicial institutions to be trustworthy #LogrosPAN"
  • "Per capita wealth in the last decade is nearly 70% higher than in the last two decades PRI. # LogrosPAN"

And a video of the awards ceremony (in Spanish, starting at 3min.) at which the party's national president presented the award to two winners via video-conference.