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.