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How Candidates Are Using Social Media In The Kelowna Civic Election

Vote in the Kelowna Civic Election!

Don't forget to vote on November 19, 2011 in the Kelowna Civic Election!

Since Barack Obama’s big win in 2008 for the US Presidency, social media has played a significant role in many (if not most) of the major political elections around the world.  Not only did Obama build the biggest network of supporters, he did it mostly through social networking efforts and raised youth voter-turnout to its second highest level in history.

Fast-forward to the 2011 Kelowna Civic Election and you’ll see that many candidates realize that social media could be the catalyst that ushers them into Kelowna City Council’s seats.

Kelowna Candidates on Twitter – Too little, too late?

Although many Kelowna candidates are visible on Twitter, most were late to the draw. Although I have noticed a couple of candidates who are up for re-election  seem to have maintained a good presence with high levels of engagement. On the flipside, many of the newcomers are jumping on the bandwagon late and rely on a typical, canned promotional tweet such as, “Vote for me in the upcoming Kelowna Civic Election.”

I can guarantee this approach won’t work. You’ll have people hitting for the snooze button faster than they can retweet with that method. So what is working?

The Rules of Engagement: 2011 Kelowna Civic Election

For citizens and candidates alike, Twitter has been a great forum to interact and discuss issues important to our fine City of Kelowna. There is tons of activity on the Twitter hashtag #KelownaVotes and anybody who tweets with said hashtag, generally receives a reply promptly.

This is textbook execution of a great political strategy for the Web 2.0 era and its exciting to see that it has been successful so far in boosting citizen’s awareness of the candidates. Keep in mind, things can get a bit heated at times but this can be good politics online…if handled properly.

4 Tips on How to Get Involved in the Kelowna Civic Election

We have a unique opportunity in history to be more connected as a community then ever before. Let’s use it to make Kelowna a better place to live by engaging in the conversation! Here are a few tips you can use to get involved and have your voice heard:

1. Check out the Twitter discussions at #KelownaVotes and jump in!

2. Tweet your concerns and comments related to the election with #KelownaVotes at the end – this will ensure your comments are addressed.

3. Twitter is not a microphone – it’s a two way street meant for engagement and conversation.

4. Don’t forget about the Castanet Forums. There is plenty of discussion to give you an idea of what citizens are talking about.

Usually I would acknowledge the power of other social networking sites, but for this year’s Kelowna Civic Election, Twitter seems to be the big hit. There’s no doubt by the next election we will see social media as a non-negotiable extension of every campaign. 

Has social media helped you decide who you’re voting for?

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this year’s Kelowna Civic Election in the comments below.

Comments

  1. Frithjof says:

    Kudos to @michelerule and @K_craig consistently building a Network on Social Media and telling us what a local politician actually does.
    Twitter is the most open and accessible Social Media platform – Ideal for real person to person interaction in near real time if desired. No other Platform is as suited to foster this kind of interaction. In the last 24hrs #kelownavotes has reached 78,000 computer screens (http://www.hashtracking.com/fast-report/?hashtag=kelownavotes) and mobile devices. Social Media is Democracy at work and contrary to the former Mayor that wants to come out of retirement it’s not a forum for teenagers

    1. Hey Frith, thanks for your comment. Did Walter really say that? I missed that, was it in a speech or is it written in an article somewhere? If it’s written somewhere can you send me the link via Twitter, I’d love to read it.

  2. I saw Andre’s comment. Are you going to watch them all speak tonight?

  3. Thanks for your comments Michele. I think social media can be a good forum for sharing ideas, concerns and information during the election. The part I don’t like is when I see candidates attacking each other, or for that matter the public attacking candidates, that I find completely unnecessary. Everyone is entitled to an opinion, but I prefer them to be more tactful in such a public forum. I think that shows much more professionalism and is a much more respectable quality, that’s what I would look for in the candidates that I choose to vote for. Good luck in the election.

    Melonie

  4. Frithjof says:

    Hi Melonie!
    Your last comment doesn’t seem to match your blog post of Nov5th
    http://topdogsocialmedia.com/kelowna-candidates-kelowna-civic-election/
    where you yourself attack Sharon Shepherd and Kevin Craig…. I wonder what changed your mind?

    1. Frith, I addressed your comment about attacking Sharon and Craig in my other email. As I mentioned in that one, I am not in any way attacking Sharon or Kevin or anyone else for that matter. In fact that is my pet peeve when people do that, opinions are fine but attacking and bashing simply is not needed or useful. I simply shared my opinion that I disagree with Sharon’s comment about there being nothing wrong with downtown. And as I mentioned in my comment to you on the other post, I think Kevin Craig is a wonderful young man, and although I wish him luck in this election it is my opinion that we need a little more experience in City Council right now. But if the majority of the voters disagree with my opinion and vote Kevin Craig in I will say his ambition and perseverance deserved him a seat in Council.