April 19, 2012

Election candidates have worn their heart on a new media sleeve

Election candidates have worn their heart on a new media sleeve

Voters in Guernsey have been able to get much closer to candidates in the 2012 election. In addition to the traditional doorstep visits, hustings meetings, manifestos and media coverage, this election has seen some candidates making themselves more accessible through the use of various facets of online and social media.

Four years ago there were hardly even any websites but this election we’ve seen some really impressive sites, plus candidates communicating via Twitter and Facebook and some even making daily broadcasts using audioboo.

Capitalising on the media revolution of recent years has brought benefits to both candidates and voters. Candidates are no longer restricted to the amount of information they can squeeze into a four page manifesto. They can expand on this, and react to the issues raised during household visits, as their campaign unfolds in a variety of other ways.

Voters who want to do their homework can find out much more about their candidates and interact with them directly or through a number of online public forums.

One new tool that some candidates have chosen to use to express their views is audioboo. This is an application that allows users to post a personal broadcast via an Internet link that can be distributed through channels such as twitter, facebook or email.

Broadcaster Kevin Stewart was the first candidate to use audioboo and he was soon followed by a number of others. Some have used it to talk in depth about their views on a hot topic; others as a stream of consciousness. It is much more personal that a written statement as it captures tone of voice, personality and even humour.

The introduction of more “DIY media tools” meant that candidates could stretch their allowable election budget much further. In the old days candidates could just about afford photography, printing of manifestos and posters and postage. New media is much more cost-effective.

It will be interesting to see whether successful candidates who have made use of social media will continue to do so over the next four years.

Posted by Steve.

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