Judging a (Municipal Candidate’s) Book by Their (Technological) Cover?

Yes, I am going to judge candidates by what they tell me about their appreciation for technology.  Not by what they say, but by their communications tools.

I have a very simple litmus test for the candidates that I will choose for the upcoming municipal election:  are they technologically competent, or at least using best practices when it comes to basic (BASIC!) best practices when it comes to their digital presence.

This litmus test is important to me for the following reasons:

  1. Do they have a basic appreciation of what it means to me that they are technologically competent?
  2. IMHO, any candidate anywhere who fails to comprehend and exhibit basic web and digital best practices are clearly ‘of the past’.  They are dinosaurs that do not comprehend that the future is happening right now.
  3. Not having a web site and various social media pages is a fail.  Period.

Here are a few lists of candidates in various regions:

Ottawa:  http://ottawa.ca/en/city-hall/your-city-government/elections/mayor

London:  http://www.london.ca/city-hall/elections/list-of-candidates/Pages/Mayor.aspx

Oshawa:  http://www.oshawa.ca/election/2014/candidates-registered.asp

Toronto:  http://app.toronto.ca/vote/campaign.do

Windsor:  http://www.citywindsor.ca/cityhall/municipal-election/pages/municipal-election.aspx

To pass my litmus test, here are my basic requirements of expectations:

  1. A web site that clearly identifies their name
  2. Similar social pages that do the same
  3. A contact email address that is something like ‘info@candidatename.ca’
  4. A toll-free or at least local phone number for the campaign office
  5. Some experimental attributes, such as an app or an open feedback page for voters to register opinion and (gasp!) ideas

For Ottawa, several candidates had web sites listed, but only two had email addresses that matched my criteria:  Mike Maguire and Jim Watson.

In the case of London, only one candidate has what I deem to be a functional political email address and web page:  Matt Brown.

Oshawa:  3 candidates had web sites and 3 used proper emails.

And Toronto?  Well, first the City has an app.  Cool.  The City also lists all candidates on their web page.  I searched ‘F’ and because neither of the Fords have web sites listed (while more than half seem to have invested prudently in the ‘modern, wacky stuff called the Interweb’), I would not vote for them, using my basic criteria.

And there you have it folks.  Try this little test with your local candidates.  If they can’t express with their marketing and basic appreciation of technology, I believe that they are unacceptable as a candidate.

Ageist?  Perhaps my views could be interpreted that way.

Snobby.  Damn straight.

But I will NOT vote for someone who’s ‘old school’ and who sees the web and technology as a threat and not an opportunity.

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