If you’ve ever met me, you know that politics are something that I am extremely passionate about. Whether its federal, provincial or civic level or for internal party positions, I’m bleed red (in more ways than one)! I’ve never kept secret my political convictions, but I do try to temper it and keep it on the back burner during non-partisan (read normal life) moments. Fortunately I had a rare occasion to combine both my passion and education last Tuesday when we had one of the Winnipeg mayoral candidates come in to speak to our class.
Brian Bowman wasn’t just coming in to speak to us about his politics – in fact that was definitely second fiddle – but about the law and social media. What was once considered a fringe area has turned into a multidisciplinary and complex field that is growing by the day.
I don’t intend this to be an endorsement; in fact I haven’t made up my mind who I will be voting for on October 22.
However I do feel that Brian Bowman is well-respected and has a great legal mind. He had a stellar career before he decided to get into politics – which means he’s one of a few politicians out there who isn’t a career politician.
“[Bowman] Practices as a nationally recognized leader in the emerging fields of social media, access to information and privacy law, and is a frequent speaker, media commentator and author.” – Pitblado Law website profile
In that way, Brian Bowman has my respect. I know how much a campaign takes out of someone – there is an incredible expectation on the candidate, who has to continually be on their “A-Game” just to audition for a job that not very many people want in the first place.
Social media has changed the way we do life in every meaning of the word.
“Everything that we’re thinking, collectively as a society, is out there on this platform for the whole world to see.” – @JosephRanseth
Political parties have been quick to capitalize on the instantaneous nature of social media as well as using it to reach out to voters who normally wouldn’t be reached. But how many examples are out there of someone being ‘taken down’ because of social media? There are those who’ve lost their jobs because they posted a picture they shouldn’t have; politicians have had their careers and their lives destroyed as quickly as you can take a picture; there are new businesses cropping up every day devoted to helping you ‘clean up your reputation‘ (don’t fall for it, they don’t work).
What it comes down to is that you need to be careful; just as you take care with your professional reputation, take care with everything you say and do online. Be proactive and monitor your online reputation while being true to your brand.
We live in a different world – my generation is that last generation to know what it is like to grow up without social media. The millennial generation has had their whole lives under the microscope of social media lens, and they think nothing of putting their lives out there and inviting more scrutiny. It basically comes down to this:
make sure you use social media, don’t let social media to use you
This week’s challenge is to make sure you vote: only 47.1% of eligible voters voted during the last civic election, and that was a high point! (source: Winnipeg Election Archives).
Second part of the challenge is this: get involved. It doesn’t matter who you vote for or who you volunteer for; it just matters that you show up. I know all campaigns would love to have extra help going into election day – go to the City of Winnipeg Election Website to find out more information about any of the candidates running for office.
Advance voting is set up all over the city, and in fact U of W students can vote on campus at the Richardson Center until Wednesday. There is no excuse.
As an aside, widely respected Globe & Mail columnist Donald Savoie wrote an article today about career politicians – while there are parts that I completely agree with, I think that this article only grazes the surface of what is a very big problem. Take a quick look at the article and let me know what you think: Perils of the Career Politician. Tweet me @DaniGirlK or comment on this blog.