It’s been four years since the 2006 Civic Election, in which Lillian Thomas won the council race for Elmwood-East Kildonan and now the ward has a host of new candidates running in the 2010 Civic Election being held on the October 27. Rod Giesbrecht, Shaneen Robinson, Nelson Sanderson, Thomas Steen and Gordon Warren are all vying for the spot of city councillor for the Elmwood-East Kildonan ward, but running with very different methods of getting their campaign messages out to the public.
Shaneen Robinson, 30, has utilized social media to an extent that none of the other candidates have even come close to matching. Shaneen is one of only two candidates, the other being Gordon Warren, who has a website posted on the City of Winnipeg Civic Election website. She has a packed 5000 friend Facebook page dedicated to her campaign with 1201 likes. The next candidate with the most number of friends on his Facebook page was Rod Giesbrecht with only 100 friends, as of 9:30 p.m., October 20, 2010.
“We have so many friends,” says Jamie Skinner, a campaign volunteer wearing a Team Shaneen sticker on her shirt, “that before we can add any more we’d have to delete some.” Shaneen has also made use of other social media outlets. Her screen name on Twitter is Shaneenthescene and she follows 158 Twitter users and has 207 followers, but no tweets as of 9:30 p.m., October 20, 2010.
“I just don’t have time,” Shaneen explained regarding her lack of tweets, “since my priority is the doorstep.” Shaneen believes that since her ward has a high population of elderly persons that are “guaranteed” not to be tweeting, she feels that her door to door strategy is a better form of community social networking.
“I do like good ol’ Facebook though” She smiled, “I have 5000 friends.” At capacity of available friend spots, she has resorted to sending out event invitations on Facebook for people who have an account but aren’t able to add her as a friend.
Shaneen won the endorsement of the NDP party in her bid for councillor of Elmwood-East Kildonan. In his closing remarks, Gordon Warren implied that because of her party affiliation she would have to “tow the party line” instead of working for the constituents of Elmwood-East Kildonan. To which Shaneen rebutted that she has “many friends in many parties” and would work with any mayoral candidate who is elected for the betterment of the Elmwood-East Kildonan community.