Torstar News Service
O Canada, we stand on guard — for your tweets!
Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada launched the Twitter handle @Canada on Wednesday and, with over 47,000 followers by about 8:30 p.m., it seemed to be a hit with the public.
The account sparked a host of responses online — many appreciative, some sarcastic.
Twitter user and media strategist Chris Boutet mocked @canada’s first tweet that announced “Canada’s now on Twitter, eh!’’
“Canada introduces itself to Twitter with the most tired cliché imaginable,’’ Boutet deadpanned.
But MissLaVodka enthused in a tweet: “@Canada always in my wee expat heart . . . now also in my Twitter feed.”
Billed as Canada’s voice to the world, the account is similar to the Twitter accounts of 11 other countries including Australia, Britain and South Africa.
Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird was the host of an event at Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada headquarters Wednesday, and it was there in discussions with Canadian diplomats, Ottawa-based foreign representatives and digital technology experts that he touted the new Twitter account and the importance of social media in diplomacy.
The experts included representatives of Facebook Canada, Twitter Canada and Google Canada.
“Our diplomats are increasingly using social media to promote Canadian values and interests abroad,” Baird said, adding “we have expanded our digital presence enormously over the last year and are always looking for ideas on how to develop it further.’’
He said the new Twitter handle will aim to capture international audiences’ interest by offering a window into “everything Canadian” and content that goes beyond foreign policy, trade and development.
“This new Twitter account will become the voice of Canada to the world on Twitter,” Baird added.
He later tweeted: “We are promoting @Canada abroad as a nation of strong values, rich culture, beautiful landscapes and a dynamic economy.”
@Canada gets some attention on Twitter. #funny
@BurkieYCP: “@Canada Id like to discuss the benefits and logic of using Fahrenheit instead of Celsius.”
* @scottywazz: “The crazy thing about @Canada being on Twitter is that with the exchange rate, they get 157 characters.”
“It’s a great day when @Canada gets on Twitter…#HowsItGoinEh
“@Canada I ran out of maple syrup and polar bear mace. Please send more. It’s definitely an emergency.”
@ImThatGentleman: “About time eh. Time to celebrate. Your igloo or mine? Drinks for all!”