On politics, social media and conversations

Politics and small business often don’t make good bedfellows, so it’s with some trepidation that I’m weighing in on this here. As you may have heard (or maybe you’re just hoping that if you close your eyes, it will all just go away), there’s an election going on in Nova Scotia right now.

Normally, I don’t get too involved. I vote and all, and I have some fairly strong opinions on matters such as how small businesses are taxed and other social issues, but I’ve never really had the chance or the desire to get involved. This time, however, a friend of mine decided to run. Patrick Doyle is the Liberal candidate for Hammonds Plains and Upper Sackville.

Patrick’s not your typical political candidate. He’s young. He’s a small business owner. But, more importantly, he’s a creative. Patrick is a camera operator for film and television. You don’t often see people from our industry getting into politics. I certainly wouldn’t want to. I think this gives him a unique perspective.

Patrick asked me to help him with a bit of a social media strategy and to help maintain the blog he’s got on the go as well. I’ve given him some training in Twitter and Facebook. I’ve implemented a Flickr account and he was already using Vimeo. But, as I’ve said before, it’s not about what social networking sites you use, it’s about the real life connections you make.

Patrick is doing something different when it comes to meeting and campaigning in his riding. Rather than walk or drive door to door, he’s riding his bike. I think this simple act is brilliant. It gives the people he meets something to comment on right away (“I can’t believe you’re riding your bike in the rain!”). It shows that he’s active. It also shows that he has an environmental bias. And as Joel Kelly says, social media is all about giving people something to talk about.

Patrick’s got an uphill battle against a Tory incumbent, but I think the fact that he’s going to such a level to show what a real person he is, and to have real, meaningful conversations with the people in his community shows a great deal about his character.

At Third Wednesday this month we talked about how social media use in this election is minimal at best, I think it’s really going to become a huge part of how candidates communicate in the coming years.

What do you think? Is there a candidate in your riding that’s doing a great job of using social media or having quality conversations? Has politics changed forever with the advent of social media?

Previously posted on brightwhite.ca

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