Making a municipal mark

John
John Gushue
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Shannie Duff is all over Facebook, or at least her campaign for the deputy mayor's chair is. Ron Ellsworth has a Twitter feed, and Team Ellsworth is recruiting on Facebook, too. Debbie Hanlon keeps me (and many others) apprised of her activities, and would-be councillors like Shelagh O'Leary and Simon Lono are using the web to reach potential voters.

And that's just the race for council in St. John's, where formal campaigning isn't supposed to move into high gear for another month.

Surf's up -

Shannie Duff is all over Facebook, or at least her campaign for the deputy mayor's chair is. Ron Ellsworth has a Twitter feed, and Team Ellsworth is recruiting on Facebook, too. Debbie Hanlon keeps me (and many others) apprised of her activities, and would-be councillors like Shelagh O'Leary and Simon Lono are using the web to reach potential voters.

And that's just the race for council in St. John's, where formal campaigning isn't supposed to move into high gear for another month.

The explosion in social networking in the last couple of years will make this year's municipal elections more viral than before. Although I still believe that most votes will be won through old-fashioned means - personal contact, door-to-door work, and especially campaign organization - there's no doubt that online has become an integral part of elections. While a candidate can't hope to win without a strong web component, it seems to me that online is becoming the glue of holding the actual campaign together.

It's not too late, of course, for prospective candidates to step up and speak out. The featured site this week is about that very thing.

The Newfoundland and Labrador government launched Make Your Mark to attract new candidates into the municipal arena. It's a bit of a tough sales job, as some smaller towns struggle to find enough people willing to take on what is often a thankless job. The campaign, tellingly, is using social networking tools to help spread the word and build an online community interested in making our actual communities more vibrant. The site includes links for a Facebook group, a YouTube channel and an RSS feed.

I like how the campaign uses smart, well-executed graphics to enhance the recruitment effort. For instance, a field has an overlay of a sketch of a soccer pitch, while one of a country path shows a developed road. The idea is to appeal to a candidate's imagination, I'm guessing.

Have a look, and do send the link to a friend. Or maybe file it away for yourself.

Elsewhere this week:

NASA 40th anniversary

www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/apollo/40th/index.html

BBC: Moon Landings

www.bbc.co.uk/archive/moonlandings/

The 40th anniversary this week of the Apollo 11 moon landing brought back memories to those old enough to have them - and I am, barely, among that number. (I remember being woken up in the middle of the night by my excited parents, and I've been grateful for the experience ever since.) NASA has been using the anniversary as a way to focus not only on its history, but the future of space exploration. The BBC has collected a great set of material from the era, with a bit of perspective from four decades later.

Canadian Lawyer goes to St. John's

tinyurl.com/lsz29b

With the economy in St. John's on a rolling boil, Canadian Lawyer took a barometer reading of how the legal profession has been faring. Very well, it turns out, although one of the interviewees for the magazine's report points out that many lawyers here not only get home for supper, but make time to head home for lunch, too.

Pandering in Real Time

tinyurl.com/ma4omf

One of the funniest bits of satire I've seen lately, this is a video from The Onion that shows the all-too-believable likelihood of cable-news pundits reacting, in real time, to audience responses to what they have to say.

PsyBlog

www.spring.org.uk/

Why do people want to eat bacon-flavoured ice cream? I found that answer (a desire to consume a concept, more so than a food), among a lot of other interesting bits, in this blog on the workings of the brain.

John Gushue is a writer in St. John's. Blog: johngushue.typepad.com. Twitter: twitter.com/JohnGushue.

Organizations: NASA, BBC, Real Time

Geographic location: St. John's, Newfoundland and Labrador

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Recent comments

  • Jimmy
    July 02, 2010 - 13:16

    It's an improvement over literature that gives a short bio and some meaningless diatribe about working for a better tomorrow, or putting your needs first.

  • A
    July 02, 2010 - 13:15

    Only those that have no other means use Faceslapp and Putter to bribe the masses.

    Maybe these two should do it the old fashion way, earn it by walking door to door. Have not seen either of them at my door step hat in hand yet.

    Guess they do not want the votes, but just the glory.

  • Jimmy
    July 01, 2010 - 19:55

    It's an improvement over literature that gives a short bio and some meaningless diatribe about working for a better tomorrow, or putting your needs first.

  • A
    July 01, 2010 - 19:54

    Only those that have no other means use Faceslapp and Putter to bribe the masses.

    Maybe these two should do it the old fashion way, earn it by walking door to door. Have not seen either of them at my door step hat in hand yet.

    Guess they do not want the votes, but just the glory.