Back on the Campaign Trail…

I was away for a few days, and in the days of modern social media and election madness, you skip out for a few days to catch a movie or go on a vacation, you miss a lot!

I think this article is interesting. As a purveyor of local social media (although my twitterability is hampered by my inability to say anything in under 600 words, never mind 140 characters), I am curious to see how the Candidates in this years’ elections have taken to social media, and I really wonder if it matters.

I see the three “stars” of using social media this year are Jonina Campbell, Dave Phelan, and (of course) James Crosty. All three of them are challengers, so they face the tougher task of making their names familiar – and I think they have all succeeded.

James Crosty, especially, has personally (and through his business, STC Creatives) –correction, apparently STC creatives is not a business owned by Mr. Crosty, been tweeting, Facebooking, and constantly updating his web presence through the campaign (and for months in advance, setting a solid foundation for what was coming). Even people I know who dislike his message, and are critical of the slightly…uh…irregular website layout and editing options that seem to have been made are admitting that he has been successful at putting his message out on all media available to him.

The second question is more compelling to me – what does it really mean for a Municipal Election in New West? For those of us connected to the on-line world of New Westminster, it seems obvious that a good write-up on 10th to the Fraser is Gold. But then when I talk to people at the Curling club, or people in the service industries I interact with, or random neighbours, I’m amazed that many don’t know who 10th to the Fraser are! (hopefully, If I keep linking to 10th to the Fraser, some magic Google algorithm will be triggered and more people will find out, as it really is the City’s best net presence by far).

I suspect the solid base of New Westminster old-schoolers who keep Bob Osterman and Lorrie Williams and Betty McIntosh re-elected just are not looking on-line for their election information (That said, Betty is turning out to be a prolific and excellent Tweeter!). I suspect as the high rises go up and fill out, as the population swells from 60,000 to 80,000 people, and as more of those people are on-line collecting more of their information form new media and social networks than ads in the Leader and Record, the on-line presence will matter. I’m not sure we are there yet.

So all this on-line debate might be a bunch of ado about very little. When I think of effective campaigning in a small town like New Westminster, I think of Jonathan Cote blowing out his knee and wearing through a pair of shoes to knock on 3000+ doors in the City and actually meet people one-on one and asking them for their vote personally. That way he can listen to people, not just talk at them. This is also why I think James Crosty will win and lose votes based on his “Citizen Chats” more than on his website presence, misspellings and malapropisms and all…

That said, what is with all of these recent, completely anonymous web sites cropping up to support one position or another? Some random group claiming to be local Liberals have a place for extended press releases, but don’t seem to have much to say, with two long posts in September, then stunning silence. There is some group called “Royal City Air” who seem to hate incinerators and curb bulges equally. There is a one-page web presence called “Quayside Chat” which offers and exchange of ideas, but other than a single veiled anti-Crosty tirade, and has no links or comments or anything that would constitute “exchange” of ideas. As Ms. Myers points out in he follow-up blog post, too much of the social media is just plain anti-social.

Leave a Reply