Norm Kelly, a famous politician and councilor for the City of Toronto. Not only is he popular within the political community but is a well-liked and trendy figure within the world of social media. Norm Kelly belongs to the Liberal Party of Canada and also represented the City of Scarborough as a councilor as well as a representative for Ward 40 York South-Wieston for the years 2000-2018. Ever since this famous political figure entered the world of Twitter, it became prevalent that he had gained a huge fan base who thoroughly enjoyed reading his tweets and communicating with him. Despite his age, he has become a very relatable figure with the kinds of tweets he posts and his daily activity on his Twitter platform. Norm Kelly’s Twitter platform is important to analyze sociologically because he is a public figure who has a strong responsibility to keep his followers well informed about things taking place around the city. As a politician, he also has an image to maintain throughout his social media sites as his tweets are constantly being looked at by thousands of people around the city. The two sociological theorists that are going to be used in analyzing the Twitter platform of Norm Kelly are Michel Foucault and Raweyn Connell. These two theorists are relevant when analyzing the tweets of Norm Kelly because both theorists focus on concepts that have to do with the fact that he is a popular figure with a sense of responsibility to provide for the community.
Over the two weeks of tweets that were observed on the Twitter platform of Norm Kelly, many of them consisted of attempts to become closer with his fan base. He is known to tweet things that bring out a comedic effect to the world of Twitter. His tweets are also very informative and he is constantly updating his followers about things that are taking place around the city and even popular things to do around Toronto. It was also observed that he adds motivational and inspiring quotes to give his followers a good start to their day. Many of his tweets are also very relatable in terms of how some of his tweets are dedicated to specific audiences. For example, one of his tweets was targeted at students who were preparing for school exams, and another tweet was targeted at families who were heading out of the country for the holidays. He also has many tweets that focus on what is taking place around the city like the fixing of potholes, or extreme cold alerts. His Twitter platform is very informative yet relevant at the same time.
Michel Foucault and Raweyn Connell are two very influential sociologists that focused on important concepts that help analyze the interactions between a political figure like Norm Kelly and his followers that represent the population of the City of Toronto. Michel Foucault, the author of “Discipline & Punish – The Birth of the prison”, was a famous sociological theorist who had a strong passion for the social sciences. He was always involved in many social movements and focused on topics like surveillance and technologies of surveillance in our world today (Quinlan, 2019). In his book, he discusses the functions of a Panopticon and how every move in the panopticon is watched. He says, “Every day, the intendant visits the quarter in his charge, inquiries whether the syndics have carried out their tasks, whether the inhabitants have anything to complain of; they ‘observe their actions’” (Foucault, 1977). This quote best relates to the position of Norm Kelly because as a councilor and politician, he is essentially in charge of dealing with complaints that are taking place around the city. He even looks at things that could be changed further and improvements that can be made. In this case, Norm Kelly is like the “intendant” of the Panopticon and has a crucial role and responsibility in maintaining a professional political stance. Everything he says is always being observed by his followers and whatever he chooses to tweet about affects the public whether that be in a positive or negative way. The second influential sociological theorist Raweyn Connell focused more on concepts like Masculinity and how the concept of Masculinity is socially organized. In her book “The Social Organization of Masculinity”, Connell talks about the fact that “the overwhelming majority of top office holders are men because there is a gender configuring of recruitment and promotion, a gender configuring of the internal division of labor and systems of control, a gender configuring of policymaking, practical routines, and ways of mobilizing pleasure and consent” (Connell, 2005). As we know, Norm Kelly is indeed a male figure that has been a councilor for many years. It could be argued that the fact that he was able to represent the city for so many years is really because of his gender or just the fact that he has excelled in his job for a long period of time. Connell also discusses the concept of Hemogenetic masculinity. She says “Hemogenetic masculinity can be defined as the configuration of gender practice which embodies the currently accepted answer to the problem of the legitimacy of patriarchy, which guarantees (or is taken to guarantee) the dominant position of men and the subordination of women” (Connell, 2005). Another way to look at this idea of Hemogenetic masculinity is the fact that the domination of masculinity is not only between men and women but also men themselves. Due to this, Norm Kelly has a purpose to stay relevant in the social media world as he is always in competition with other politicians and most of the politicians being men. The more popularity Norm Kelly gains through his twitter profile, the better it is for his career because he will gain more support. These are the ideas that Michel Foucault and Raweyn Connell would use to sociologically analyze the Twitter platform of Norm Kelly.
Both sociological theorists Michel Foucault and Raweyn Connell have a few similarities and differences between their works. Some of the similarities consist of the fact that their work revolves around the study of the male gender. When Foucault discusses the idea of the Panopticon and its functions of it, he uses men to describe the different roles that can be found in these prisons. Likewise, Connell’s main focus on her work is about masculinity and how masculinity is organized. The difference between both these theorists’ work is that Connell’s main focus is only on masculinity while Foucault covers a wide variety of topics when he discusses the prison structure. Each perspective allows us to understand why Norm Kelly remains constantly active on his Twitter platform and how that is beneficial to his career. Some of the limitations the perspective has is the fact that both theorists focus on very specific things that it is sometimes difficult to compare a social media platform and two very different sociological works.