Social media is a wonderful tool but it is very time consuming. Just writing this blog eats up a big part of my evenings. Add to that Twitter and Facebook and you're looking at a major time commitment.
I've been trying to streamline things by cross-posting as much content as possible. I often promote the blog via Twitter and Facebook but today we're going to go the other direction.
You may be aware of the Dundas Facebook page. If not, you can find it here: https://www.facebook.com/dundasontario1847. It's a great page and I visit it several times per day.
The gentleman that runs the page wants it to be an election resource for his readers and he's quite keen to get responses from candidates on topical posts. I enjoy visiting the page and I am careful not to hijack the whole thing and make it all about me and my campaign.
Today he polled the electorate, so to speak. I've excerpted part of the page here:
Dundas FB: I have tried to engage the candidates for Councillor to participate in this forum but with little success. Bob Maton running for Public School Trustee is probably the one who has put more forward in terms of his opinions and what he believes, than anyone. Marc Risdale has just taken up the torch for the Bruce Trail crossing at the railway over pass at #8, in that he will be chairing a meeting where he will bring the topic up on the agenda. Have you heard much anywhere that lets you differentiate, one from another? I speak with people every day about this issue while out and I can't say we are doing a great job getting the issues out amongst the voters. I have never been more involved than I have been this year and yet I can say this is pretty much a "vanilla" type campaign. Everyone looks the same so far. I have invited or at the very least every candidate is aware or on this page. They seem to like the safety of their own pages but is this leadership material? Would you like to see more opinions by political hopefuls where they can be engaged? I have invited them to be here. I want one spot to get regular information and I don't want to have to go to 8 different pages. Tell us what you think.
The general sentiment from the subsequent posters was generally welcoming to more political messaging so I piped up
Me: Speaking for myself, as a candidate, I'm quite happy discussing policy here but I also enjoy just hanging out on this page. By all means, ask me tough questions. I'll be glad to answer them. This actually seems as good a time as any to announce the theme of the last phase of my campaign leading up to the election on October 27th (consider this an exclusive scoop Mr. Dundas FB Page ): "Putting Dundas and Our Families First"
This comment got a great response. In particular, one reader took me up on my offer almost immediately.
Catherine: First let me tell you Marc I appreciate that you are willing to be forthcoming in an open format that alone just put you at the top of my list. Now lets see if you can stay there. Your "Theme" for the final phase "putting Dundas and Our Families First" Great slogan by the way but my question is two parts, why do you feel the need to divide your campaign themes/slogans throughout your campaign instead of just giving us this information from day one and how do you plan on bringing this statement to fruition.?
Me: Great question Catherine! I chose to divide my campaign into two main phases on purpose. The first was my introductory and consultative phase. I wanted to take the time to walk EVERY street in Dundas and meet as many residents as possible. I'm on track to have that done by Labour Day weekend. I also had a booth at Cactus Fest. It is important for me to understand what the people of Dundas want from their next Councillor and to make sure my ideas align with theirs. The second phase will focus on rolling out the policies and ideas I've developed over the first phase. I've already announced my position on a number of issues (term limits, voting blocks on Council, ward sizes, poverty reduction, etc...) on Twitter and my daily blog (marcrisdale.blogspot.ca) and it is challenging to make sure I reach as many people as possible. I am completely committed to transparency as a Councillor and am trying to demonstrate my commitment by being an open book from the start. To answer the second part of your question, there are a number of things we can do at the municipal level to make Dundas as family-friendly as possible. Ensuring the walkability of our town through intelligent public works decisions, growing the number of licensed infant care (birth to 18 months) spaces, exercising greater control over development and offering constructive and interesting extra-curricular programming for our youth are just a few of the tools we can use to make my vision a reality. I truly believe that making Dundas a great place for families will make it a great place for everyone.
Now that there are so many places to release information about a campaign, it can get a bit tricky keeping track of everything. For instance, you'll note that I've now revealed a few of the ideas I've developed for my platform as well as announcing the theme for the last half of my campaign.
Walking ALL the streets of Dundas has given me a great deal of time to synthesize all the data I've been gathering and I really believe that "Putting Dundas and Our Families First" both tidily sums up everything I'm about and does a nice job of appealing to my target audience.