Madhura Vithana’s Facebook page
This Colombo Municipal Council race has seen a lot more candidates get onto social networks, especially Facebook. Sanjana is calling for people to hack their web campaigns, but I suggest that you merely ‘like’ them.
Here are a few candidates that I think are worth a like, a subscribe, or at least a look.
This is the Facebook page I’m admin’ing, and also the biggest (of the CMC race, AFAIK). Please note that the latter fact has more to do with the man than the admin. What I’ve told other clients/friends is that what matters isn’t the technology, it’s presence (and thus time). Milinda actually takes the time to read the page and add his own notes in a very busy schedule. Honestly, the vote won’t turn here, it’ll turn through face-to-face meetings in wattes and through TV and the mainstream media.
I think this page works because A) it’s given priority by the main campaign and the media team and B) the ideas lend themselves to web. Milinda is releasing his policy document for amendments through multiple media, so the web fits nicely in, which is where it belongs. Personally, I think that social media is a force multiplier, not a force in itself.
I also ‘like’ his main opponent, AJM Muzammil. His page is active and they’re good at posting photos and videos but less good, I think, at connecting them to policy points. I don’t know who’s running social media for him, but I know people in that campaign and they’re cool.
The main reason I don’t interact with this page too much is that there simply isn’t that much policy, it’s mainly pocket meetings and videos and some news links. Besides that it’s OK.
Sajith isn’t running for anything, but he’s definitely running the best Facebook page. It has over 33,000 fans (ye Gods) and, most importantly, good content. For example, the page added this today, which already has over 141 likes.
“The main aim of party politics is to obtain power. It is not to be in the Opposition and suffer constant defeats. When the United National Party was suffering massive defeats J.R. Jayawardana said, we need reforms and we need to create a president from the UNP within the Democratic frame work.”
What’s interesting is that the page is in pretty open opposition to Ranil, saying, “Our Mayoral Candidate Mr. A.J.M. Muzammil is very clever and an all-rounder. After the victory of UNP in Colombo Municipal Council, myself, Rosy Senanayake, Arshad and the Mayor, Muzammil will do our best to make Colombo as a prosperous city.” This I think is a good position, except, sadly, Ranil is still all over Muzammil’s page and heading meetings to discuss plans for the Colombo megapolis.
Madhura Vithana is the UPFA candidate for mayor of Kotte. I think he’s also running a great campaign. For one thing, he’s figured out the trick to make the thumbnails Facebook shows one, coherent image, in this case his number, symbol and the usual campaign livery (see above). This seems trivial, but it shows an understanding of the medium beyond a reference to another medium.
Again, he uses Facebook as a force multiplier rather than an isolate thing, which is why I think it works. For example, his campaign bus appears to have stewardesses and a campaign office seems to be the awesome but forever unoccupied Radio Electrons building on Galle Road. The page isn’t policy heavy, but the welcome page is his progressive and coherent policy doc. He also seems to respond to some comments and do some of his own updates.
Mano doesn’t have a Facebook ‘page’, he uses his personal profile, which is kinda bad. For one thing, this spoils ones personal life, and personal pages max out at 5,000 links. Still, Mano does the main thing right, which his using Facebook. I’ve interacted with him before in Facebook Groups, through messages and he uses FB like a normal user, which I think is just great.
I like Mano personally and I think he’s a good candidate for Mayor.
Her Facebook ads say ‘Voice Of Voctory’, but Ms. Hameed definitely has the best photography (and jewelry) of any candidate. I hesitate to recommend voting for her because she seems obsequiously pally with the Rajapaksa family and the extremely dubious Duminda Silva. I also can’t find a shred of policy anywhere, but her street level campaigning looks classic (poster, crowds, noise) and probably effective.
Another ‘personal’ page for the CMC is by Anuradha Wimalaratne. I first saw him posting on other pages, notably Muzammil’s. I think he was asking for issues/complaints to add to a central document he was assembling. Right,
Friends i am compiling a document with all common problems that people face in the CMC area. I have received many complaints from many people about issues they face with the municipal council. Please comment on this or inbox me with what ever problems you have, so that i can take it up in the future. Problems such as : Street lamp issues,Drain and hygiene issues , events of bribery and corruption etc. (Muzammil’s page)
Personally, I think it’s good when anyone gets onto social networks, especially politicians and elected officials. When the Mayor of Kaduwela got onto Twitter he got a warm welcome and people tried to help him along. I think politicians should be thus encouraged, whatever party they’re from and however they choose to engage. It’s encouraging that so many candidates for the Colombo Municipal Council elections are taking to Facebook. I hope in the future there will be more, and that elected officials will continue to stay engaged through as many channels as possible.
Please note that this list is only the candidates I’ve noticed. Please add more.