It is 5 days short of 5 months since the 2014 election, and we are already back in election season. There is going to be a by-election in the Northland electorate due to the resignation of Mike Sabin for “personal issues that were best dealt with outside Parliament”. As part of the gearing up for this by-eleciton a number of parties are in the process of deciding if they will run a candidate, and if so who that candidate might be. A few names have come to the fore. Labour have already confirmed Willow Prime as their candidate. The list of the final five nominees for the National candidacy have been announced. So I felt that now would be the time to do an assessment of the social media pressence of those who are, or may be, candidates in the up coming by-election.
Willow has maintained a semi active Facebook page since the of the general election. I had a quick look back to the start of January and there are posts every few days. Many of a personal nature, about the baby her and her husband were expecting. It currently has 3800 followers.
This is in contrast to her Twitter account which was only restarted around 5 Feb, after Sabin had resigned. The last data point that I have for her account pre election, which was 19 Sept, had her on 380 followers. Her restarted account, that has 17 tweets as of today, currently has less than half as many followers, with 17o. So any work establishing a base of follower base during the election has been wasted.
Karen Rolleston, National: Facebook
I have not been able to find a Twitter account for Karen.
The only Facebook presence that I have found for Karen is a personal profile. It is heavily locked down, but the only posts visible are videos and photos shared on her wall by a Wayne Rolleston, who I assume is her husband, and a bunch of work related posts from November last year and before.
Mark Osborne, National:
I haven’t been able to find either a Facebook account or Twitter account that jumps out as being for the Mark Osborne who is seeking the Northland nomination for the National Party.
Grant McCallum, National: Facebook
The only account that I have found for Grant is a locked down Facebook profile. The only visible post is a profile photo change from early last year.
I haven’t been able to find a stand out Twitter account for Grant.
Matt King, National: Facebook
There is one profile for a Matt King in the Northland area. There are a number of visible posts on his profile, including one of him meeting with John Key.
Mita Harris, National:
There is non hits on a Mita Harris using the Facebook search function. Nor for Twitter.
Polling day for the Northland by-election is 28 March, which is 41 days away from today. National have only just announced their final 5 nominees. There will be a very short period for campaigning period for them once the candidate is decided on. All of them will be starting the social media element of their campaign, if they have one, from scratch. Where as Willow will be starting from a solid base on Facebook. Now the potential counter is that social media may not be that useful in a mainly rural electorate like Northland. However with a short campaign period, surely potential candidates would be wanting to make sure they were ready to go with all possible tools in their campaign toolbox.
Even if they decide not to have a social media element to their campaign, a number of the National nominees could do with a bit of a tidy up on their Facebook pages.