I have become a skeptic about how useful social media is as a political campaigning tool. This is mainly because when you reach and communicate with 100 to 300 people via social media you feel like you are talking to a lot of people but in reality you are reaching almost none of your possible voters. The two way communication of social media masks the very low numbers of people you reach. In the City Victoria you need to reach 65,000 voters which is impossible via social media.
I am going to look at the 30 of the 31 candidates and one slate that Dan Pollock has managed to find Twitter feeds for and see how they are all doing. Barb Desjardins was acclaimed as mayor in Esquimalt so her feed is not a campaign tool and I am not including it.
- Dean Fortin - Victoria Mayor - 1367 followers - 250 tweets - only following 14 people
- Frank Leonard - Saanich Mayor - 966 followers - 865 tweets
- Aaron Hall - Victoria Council - 957 followers - 5875 tweets - the only really serious social media user among all the candidates running this time, he will also be on the panel with me this evening.
- Shauna Salsman - Sooke Council - 634 followers - 333 tweets - this account seems to be from her campaign as the Green candidate for Esquimalt Juan de Fuca in May.
- Jesse McClinton - Saanich Council - 486 followers - 1052 tweets
- Lillian Szpak - Langford Council - 417 followers - 369 tweets - I think this account is from when she ran to MP in Esquimalt Juan de Fuca this year
- Marianne Alto - Victoria Council - 393 followers - 115 tweets
- Lisa Helps - Victoria Council - 318 followers - 439 tweets
- Dean Murdock - Saanich Council - 308 followers - 305 tweets
- Phillipe Lucas - Victoria Council - 296 followers - 176 tweets
- Carl Jensen - Central Saanich Council - 288 followers - 244 tweets
- David Bratzer - SD#61 Board - 271 followers - 180 tweets
- Tim Morrison - Esquimalt Council - 184 followers - 54 tweets
- Rob Wickson - Saanich Council - 176 followers - 110 tweets
- Ben Isitt - Victoria Council - 172 followers - 28 tweets
- James McNulty - Central Saanich Council - 108 followers - 10 tweets
- Dave Hodgins - Esquimalt Council - 102 followers - 956 tweets - this is not a new account
- Adam Olsen - Central Saanich Council - 94 followers - 274 tweets
- Shellie Gudgeon - Victoria Council - 85 followers - 56 tweets
- Dave Bennett - Sooke Mayor - 75 followers - 52 tweets
- Grant McLachlan - Langford Council - 61 followers - 62 tweets
- Vicki Sanders - Saanich Council - 51 followers - 84 tweets
- Paul Brown - Victoria Mayor - 45 followers - 106 tweets
- Larry Cross - Sidney Mayor - 44 followers - 10 tweets
- Steve Filipovic - Victoria Mayor - 41 followers - 115 tweets
- Shari Lukens - Colwood Council - 41 followers - 57 tweets
- Tara Ney - Oak Bay Council - 39 followers - 10 tweets
- Kyara Kahakauwila - Metchosin Council - 32 followers - 12 tweets
- Open Victoria - slate for Victoria Council - 26 followers - 11 tweets - I am one of the people that tweets for this account
- Linda McGrew - Victoria Council - 23 followers - 18 tweets
- Brian Tucknott - Colwood Mayor - 16 followers - 21 tweets
- Michelle Kirby - Oak Bay Council - 13 followers - 1 tweet - very new account
- Andrew Britton - View Royal Mayor - 8 followers - 8 tweets - no account pic
For comparison, my twitter account has 1058 followers and 4499 tweets.
As you can see, almost half have fewer than 100 followers.
There is only one serious user of social media on the list - Aaron Hall. Two major local mayors top the list have been using twitter in office, but neither one often and one only as a broadcast method.
If you are trying to reach 65,000 voters in the City of Victoria, having 650 followers is only 1% of the voter base, and that assumes all the followers are from the City of Victoria. In comparison in afternoon in the Cook Street village you can shake 100 to 200 hands in person of which you can be fairly certain almost all of them can vote in the City of Victoria.
In my opinion the top six twitter users from the list:
- Aaron Hall
- Frank Leonard
- Dean Fortin
- Jesse McClinton
- Lisa Helps
- Dean Murdock