As the clocks hit 6 on Thursday, the campaign teams were out in force. Since then, the campus has become a sea of colours representing a myriad of candidates fighting for the six Sabbatical positions. There was no doubt in our minds that this campaign would be something different, and as the manifestos began rolling out, we began to see just how different it would be this year.
The various websites and Facebook groups that have cropped up since campaign week officially began shows that e-campaigning will play a massive role in 2011’s Sabbatical elections. In previous years, even with the rise of Facebook and social networking, Sabbatical candidates have not been allowed to actively campaign online; a marked difference from both NUS and national politics, who have made heavy use of online campaigning for some time now. Suddenly there’s an entirely new playing field to Swansea University’s politics. Campaign week is still very much about getting out there and meeting your voters, but now, Twitter, Facebook, blogs, personal websites and multimedia are thrown into the mix.
On the one hand, it’s about time the elections became thoroughly modernised, particularly with the introduction of e-voting. Additionally, this will play a massive role in voters’ awareness of election week. Even if you avoid campus all week, you’ll be hard pressed to miss the statuses and Twibbons appearing on your friends’ profile pages.
On the other hand, there’s the worry that this is just taking campaign week too far. Are students going to enjoy their Facebook feeds being full of campaigning and union politics this week? A fine balance has to be met between good, active campaigning and annoying your entire friend list! Students often wonder whether campaign week is more of a popularity contest rather than about actual policy, so does e-campaigning help or hinder this problem?
Here at The Siren, we naturally welcome new media, being an example of such ourselves! We’re not going to let the Sabbatical candidates outdo us either, oh no. Not only will you get your regular content with an election theme this coming week, but we’re also treating you to a bit of Liveblogging from Quiz the Candidates tomorrow evening! On top of that, we’ll be working with The Waterfront to deliver the best quality live election coverage on Thursday evening. What more could you ask for? After all, this is our union and our student experience. The more informed you are about the election, the better you can hold your Sabbatical officers to account.
Want to get involved with our Liveblogging? If you’re a Twitter user, just tweet with the hashtag #swanseasabb2011 during our Liveblog tomorrow evening. Not on Twitter? No matter. Leave us a comment on the blog or on the Liveblog itself!