How do our politicians use social media?

Date Originally Published: Monday, October 22nd, 2012

View edited article here

 

The use of social media has undeniably become an important facet of any public figure’s open life, whether used as a platform for announcements and campaigns, or merely as a public wall of personal thoughts. Most of us are aware and even follow many celebrity twitters, maybe even like their Facebook pages.

But what about our very own London city council members?

Citizen Engagement in London Ontario (CELO) is a study that aims to find out exactly that. Conducted by  “a handful of ordinary citizens”, the CELO is an annual survey taken of the various London city council members. The 25-question survey covers a litany of topics not entirely limited to, but very inclusive, of social and generally electronically media, asking the members whether they maintain a mailing list or newsletter among other queries.

But the survy seeks to do more than just find out if, say, council member Matt Brown uses Twitter (by the way, he does, daily). As interesting as it would be to find out how our mayor uses his Facebook page, the true nature of CELO, according to its’ webpage, is to understand how engaged are politicians with citizens through more modern methods, With more conventional methods, such as radio, print, or television no longer reaching an audience as broad as the internet.

“At CELO, we believe that having an informed electorate directly relates to voter turnout and a healthy democracy. In the past, all levels of government could rely on citizens receiving healthy doses of political news through their local papers and radio stations. However, with newspaper readership on the decline and audiences tuning into other forms of media, it’s imperative that we find new ways to inform the electorate and keep them engaged in the middle of an election cycle.”, says the CELO website.

The CELO website, at http://ldnccreportcard.wordpress.com/, is fascinating and interesting to explore. On the front page, you’ll find what you probably came to the site for, the individual questionnare as filled out by each council member. You can also view statistics of the yes-and-no questions as well as a summary on the Results of Survey page. Whether you’re simply an avid politico or a political student wanting to gain a better understanding of campaign management, CELO nevertheless offers plenty of insight on our local politicians and their ways of conducting all things political.

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