Blogs, Facebook, Twitter, Survey Monkey – these are the tools used today by several local school board candidates to get their message out and to connect with voters.
Candidates in both the Community Consolidated School District 15 and Township High School District 211 are utilizing Web 2.0 technology in their campaigns to win a seat on their respective school boards April 5.
Defined as web applications that facilitate interactive information sharing, a Web 2.0 site allows users to do more than just retrieve information. It invites them to participate.
Just a mere four years ago, Web sites for school board candidates were relatively new and a way for them to post their biographies, link to news articles, letters to the editor and to solicit campaign donations. It was another vehicle to get their message out to the voters.
During the 2009 election not only were Web sites considered a requirement but interactive blogs and YouTube videos were introduced to the mix. Even candidate forums televised on cable stations were uploaded to video-sharing sites for those that were unable to attend. Information was out there if you took the time and knew where to look.
Today’s 21st century candidate takes it a step further with the use of social networking sites. Facebook pages, Twitter accounts and online surveys are powerful new ways to engage voters. They are rapidly becoming the key to raising awareness, addressing issues and responding to voter concerns in a most transparent process.
Let’s face it – everyone is busy and under pressure these days whether it be work or the demands of running a household. Voters might not always be able to attend a candidate forum but they can and will turn on their computers, Smartphone or iPod to get the information they need to make an informed choice.
Access to information is vital to creating interest in the democratic process and an ideal democracy is participatory. The use of Web 2.0 technology by our local school board candidates to encourage citizen participation in the democratic process should be applauded and rewarded with a visit to their site.
Take the time to connect with them and don’t forget to vote April 5.
School Board Candidates with active Web sites are listed below (as of Feb. 17):
Editor's Note: If we missed any candidate Web sites, contact Patch editor Brian Slupski at email@example.com and we will add the site to this column.