Last week, I wrote in my column that I was struggling with the amount of work I ahead of me, as I tried to make an informed vote in next week’s provincial election. Well, a week later, I’m more confused than ever, and social media isn’t making it any easier.
Calgary is the city that elected someone, who a few months before he became mayor, was virtually unknown. Thanks, much in part to social media, Mayor Nenshi became as popular as a Kardashian – thankfully without the sex tape. This time around, using popular tools like Facebook or Twitter to gather information about the election is as dangerous as biking down the Deerfoot. This past week, rumours, controversies and yes, lies spread lightening fast on social media, and if not read with discretion, a candidate’s chances at becoming an MLA can disappear faster than Garth Brooks tickets.
In an attempt to try and figure out who I’m going to vote for, following popular hashtags like #abvote and #ableg has literally taken away hours of my life. Sure, I’ve found some useful tidbits to help me make an informed decision, albeit mostly against the Wildrose candidates, but for the most part, I’m glued to the conversations, even though most of them end in name-calling. Admittedly, I’ve been involved in a few of these Twitter fights myself, although as someone who was bald and covered in high school, I can handle my fair share of teasing and bullying, even if it is coming from someone in the media or happens to be the same age as my father.
As someone who doesn’t even know what CPAC stands for, I’ve surprised myself how invested I’ve become in this election. That’s not to say that I don’t vote in every election, but this time it seems almost as exciting as the first few seasons of American Idol, when normally Alberta elections feel more like Canadian Idol.
Of course, just because this year’s election is trending both online and around the water cooler, it doesn’t mean that the Election Day will be any different then in the past. People still have to get out and vote, which is easier said than done, especially for those that’d rather just complain on Twitter than actually vote in a potentially historic election. Whether you vote for the Wildrose party, support the old standby Conservative party, or maybe you want to give The Alberta Party a try, the truth is, none of the things we say or do online matter until we put our ballot into the box.