In several recent discussions with fellow denizens of the Twitter-verse, the topic has inevitably shifted to the question of "how useful is Twitter going to be in this election?"
Invariably, the answer has come back "it will be all but useless".
The water is already too cloudy. There is not a single undecided person posting frequently to the hashtag #abvote. And the "discourse", if you want to call it that, it already so vitriolic as to have any undecided voter who DOES wander into the discussion run from their computer in abject horror. It's like watching a "Kirk/Picard" debate on steroids.
The blogs are going to be king in this election's Electronic Front. And the bloggers are up to the task.
Some of what you read is going to be opinion. We've all got biases. But here's a little secret: So do the guys in the print media. And the radio. The difference is, bloggers are usually more up front about their biases. A lot of print and radio guys hide behind their "Media" badge, and think that no one will notice they haven't had a good thing to say about the PC's in 15 years. But we've all noticed.
A lot of what you read on the blogs is going to be stone-cold fact. It's important to know the difference. As one of my favourite quotes goes, "Everyone is entitled to their own opinion. No one is entitled to their own facts." Find blogs you can trust - I'll try to help, but don't just take my word for it. Ask questions of people in the "Comments" section of their blogs. Ask them to back up their statements with hard facts. That's part of your job, as a citizen: Keep the politicians AND the media honest, by making sure they know you're watching what they say with a cocked eyebrow.
I'm going to make sure the blogroll on the right of this screen is up-to-date with quality Alberta bloggers who can help you try to cut through the noise. I'm going to give you a little bit of opinion - MY opinion, not spin from this party or that party. NO party tells me what I can and can't say. But I'm going to try and stay in the straight-and-narrow "fact zone" as much as possible - only because I know so many won't, and the whole reason this blog was born 5-and-a-half years ago was to provide coverage that others weren't.
My interest is in having the best candidate from each of the 87 constituencies elected as MLA, with massive voter turn-out and millions of my fellow Albertans casting informed ballots.
I want to be well-governed. I'm not hung up on the ideas of "left" and "right". I just want vision, and good ideas that we can afford. That's how I'm making my decision on voting day - and no, it's not made yet. It won't be made listening to party leaders talk, either. MY vote goes to a local candidate - and they're going to have to earn it.
By the way - YOUR vote goes to a local candidate, too. Unless you're in Calgary-Elbow, you can't vote for Alison. And unless you're in Highwood, you can't vote for Danielle. You think you're voting for a party, volunteering for a party, donating to a party... but you're not. Don't believe me? Ask the people who thought they were voting Tory in 2008 in Airdrie and Calgary-Fish Creek. Or who thought they were voting Liberal in Lethbridge-East. You local candidate gets to do whatever the heck they want with your vote - make sure they're worthy of your support.
You're going to find me - and people much smarter than me, too - on several other sites through this election as well. Be sure to bookmark "OpenFile.ca" and "CalgaryPolitics.com" - many hands make light work, and many different voices make for more interesting harmonies.
In 28 days, we will have chosen a government.
Inform yourselves, and choose wisely.
Heeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeere we go...