While it's a good tool for party officials to reach out to supporters, a political science researcher at Mount Allison University says they should not place too much emphasis on social media tools like Twitter and Facebook.
"It's not more important than television or radio advertising and it's not going to replace the news media and parties would be foolish to place too much stock in it," Tamara Small said on Tuesday. "It's a great tool for rallying your base and it could be a great tool for reaching out to people who donate. I'm not quite convinced that it impacts those who aren't interested."
With the campaign only a couple of days old, a lot of messages are flowing to supporters through sites like YouTube, Twitter and Facebook. The messages range from videos explaining campaign platforms to tweets and status updates from candidates themselves and members of the campaign team.
"It's definitely part of the campaign arsenal, but I'm not sure if it has moved any more to the centre than it was in 2008," she said. "It's used quite a bit and political parties are hoping it will make people more engaged."
Where it has changed, is social media sites are being used to get out the key message of the day which has given the parties an expanded repertoire to use on the campaign trail to garner support.
The problem, she said, is the Internet requires people to log on as opposed to other technologies such as door-to-door campaigning and radio, TV and newspaper advertising.
She doesn't think parties should look solely at Twitter and Facebook as a way to involve younger voters in the political process.
"Television or door-to-door knocking finds people where they're at. The Internet requires an activeness that makes it more difficult to put all your eggs in one basket," Small said. "Sitting back and waiting for people to come to you is not the best strategy to follow during an election."
Pippa Norris, she said, pointed out Internet politics is preaching to the converted because people have to be active to be involved.
"It means you have to already be interested. You have to be someone who wants to know about Stephen Harper or where Stephen Harper is going to be tomorrow. You need to already have a connection to a particular party to want to become a follower," said Small. "I don't know of anyone who would want to follow Harper, or Michael Ignatieff or Jack Layton just because they're there.
"People are not going to wake up in the morning and exclaim 'Oh my God, I'm going to follow Michael Ignatieff.'"
Small is researching how parties are using new technology and social media as part of the campaign. She is an expert on social media use in Canadian politics, particularly during elections, and holds a PhD from Queens University.
She examined and published a study on the role of Facebook in the 2008 federal election and is currently studying the role of Twitter in the upcoming campaign.