The electorate of Rangitikei is located in the lower part of the Central North Island. It surrounds the city of Palmerston North, and extends North of National Park, on the Western side of Lake Taupo. It is currently held by Ian McKelvie, who is former mayor of Manawatu, as well as being Board Chair of Special Olympics New Zealand. He is the candidate for the National Party again in the 2014 election.
He is up against Deborah Russell. Deborah describes herself as “a tax expert, a writer and a thinker”. Other than being an Otago Grad, spending some time working in Australia, and the rest of her life “I’ve lived and worked in the lower part of Te Ika a Maui, the North Island of New Zealand. This is where I feel at home.” I haven’t been able to find much about her.
So lets look at the social media profile of the two candidates.
Ian McKelvie. The easiest way to sum up Ian McKelvie’s social media presence as non existent. He has sent 6 Tweets, yet still somehow has 222 people who have followed him.
What makes this dismal Twitter profile even worse is the time span of the Tweets he has sent.
6 Tweets sent over a 6 month period, with nothing else sent in the last 12 months. The only thing worse than an Account with zero Tweets, that is an account with an extremely low number of Tweets over an extended period of time. If you are going to have a social media presence, then you need to do it properly. Which Ian has not done.
Deborah Russell on the other hand.
Has a reasonable level of activity. Just under 3,500 Tweets and over 400 followers. But there is a difference between a good and bad profile on social media. The tone of some of her Tweets is rather interesting for a candidate for a major party.
Tweets poking fun at senior members of the Parliamentary Press Gallery may not be the most effective method to generate positive coverage.
It will be interesting to see if Deborah continues to use rather personal attacks during the rest of the campaign.
On a positive note, Deborah does seem to understand the importance of image quality when using images. If she can keep this up during the campaign, it should help her attract attention and drive engagement.
It is not obvious what Deborah expected the Prime Minister to be able to do about the flooding. But she must see tweeting images like this as acceptable for a candidate for a major party and potential MP.
Both Ian and Deborah’s websites do not appear to be updated regularly. This is somewhere they could both improve. Once again, if you are going to have a web presence that is dateable, it needs to be maintained and updated and not allowed to date.
In conclusion, it is obvious that Deborah has a much higher profile on social media than Ian. It is unclear how much of a role this will play in a seat like Rangitikei.
My advice to Ian is, if you are going to have a Twitter account, use it. Make use of the medium, do not use it as just another broadcast method. Develop that two way conversation. Connect with people. If you aren’t sure how to do it, talk to other MPs who are doing it well. But if you aren’t going to use it, get rid of it.
My advice to Deborah is that you have a good base to build from. But now that you are a candidate, remember people will be looking at you, they will go over what you say and do, including on social media. Stop and think, how would this look taken out of context? Could this cast me in a bad light? Could this come back to haunt me?