Research your Local Politician – #ge11 (if you can find them online)
Just over two weeks to go till the General Election. Things are heating up with a leaders debate that is missing the most likely future leader, due to kick off later this evening.
It is interesting to see the Obama effect has ensured most politicians have embraced social media and have Twitter, Facebook and Youtube icons on their election posters.
What amazes me is that in that most local of all things (an Irish election), it is hard to find out who is running in your constituency by performing local searches in Google. Let alone work out what these people stand for and how they will make Ireland a better place.
The world has moved beyond posters and door to door canvasing. We are in the age of information and research. I, most likely, will not be home when politicians call and I find political posters with their awkward smiles an eye sore.
I want to be able to research my local candidates and make an informed decision. I am register to vote in Dun Laoghaire Rathdown. Lets try and research some simple information using Irelands most popular search engine – Google.
Search for: ‘dun laoghaire rathdown election candidates’ – useless all I can get is local elections from 2009. As I refine further all I can find is results about whether or not David McWilliams would run in the area.
Search for: ‘general election candidates ireland’ I decided to go national to see if the information was available. This was the first result, ElectionsIreland. It has the information, but it really is not user friendly.
After further searches the best places I found with relevant information was theJournal.ie. They have broken down candidates by constituency with links to their websites (where available). Hard to believe someone would put themselves forward for election without at least a simple page (website) outlining what they stand for and their goals, but they are there.
My point here is that it is difficult to find out exactly who is running and what they stand for. In the internet age this should be a basic for all candidates. Considering that candidates will spend tens of thousands on posters and print media, spending a few hundred optimising your website should be a given. It can take time for a website to rank in Google and this election was called fairly recently. But people have known this election was coming since the Greens announcement in December, some planning and this would not be an issue.
Our message: Future leaders of the country. Please make it easier for us, the electorate, to research what you stand for. I don’t like being door stepped or receiving spam snail mail. Please make this information available online and easy to find. It might even help you win an election!
Something else we found: The Dublin constituency map loads up on its side and is far from user friendly.
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