Tuesday, February 06, 2007

New media

Just a quick example of how new media such as blogs, YouTube, podcasts etc., are changing the face of local politics.

Gord Henderson had a rather biting column in the Windsor Star recently regarding the Interim Control By-Law for Sandwich. Councillors Marra, Halberstadt and Dilkens were taken to the woodshed for "siding" with the bridge.

Marra and Dilkens are basically reliant on either the Windsor Star or any one of the other media outlets if they wish to respond in any fashion.

Halberstadt, on the other hand, has his website complete with blog and videos. Blind Mouse Musings (Part One), Blind Mouse Musings (Part Two) and Blind Mouse Musings (Part Three) are Alan's response to Henderson's column. While Alan's blog may not have the same readership as the Star, it affords him an avenue to instantly respond to any issue without having to go through local media.

Other blogs such as this one, Ed Arditti's Windsor City Blog or Chris Schnurr's Sound Off often link to the site and comment on what Alan has posted or some related item. The local blog aggregator WE Speak helps further expose Alan's blogs to internet readers. Websites like the Canadian Blog Aggregator and YouTube reproduce content on a provincial, national and international level. Even the Windsor Star's Muncipal Affairs reporter (and blogger) featured Alan's website in a recent blog post.

All of this offers residents a greater chance to participate in local politics whether it's through traditional means such as phone calls or letters or through emails, blog comments or blog posts.

One interesting thing to follow for the future will be whether Alan faces pressure from his fellow councillors to cease his blogging or will some Councillors recognize the potential of this new medium and join him. Many politicians make a great show of listening and communicating with their residents during elections, how many continue after the vote has been counted?

* In the interests of full disclosure, I designed Alan's website and maintain it, on a volunteer basis.