Hashtag Politics

While the world is busy jeering and gawking at the presidential candidates in the United States, Ireland is about to embark on its own General Election.

My constituency is North Dublin Bay, which provides a vast range of candidates from every party. There are five seats available and nineteen candidates.  Some candidates seek reelection; Richard Burton (FG), Sean Haughey (FF). Where as some candidates are once again asking for your vote; Stephanie Regan(FG), Deirdre Heney (FF).

Avril Power is one of five independent candidates running for a seat. By using SmartVote.ie I was able to further understand Powers views on specific issues. For example we are both in agreement that  ‘Abortion should be permitted in cases of rape, incest or when the baby is unlikely to survive outside the womb’.

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Her activity on social media seems to be more than other candidates. Her eleven thousand Twitter followers far exceeds that of other candidates in her constituency (Sean Haughey’s 1,397 and Richard Brutons 7, 381). Averils official Facebook Page has 4, 034 likes. She does not seem to be on Instagram or Snapchat.

(Numbers recorded on of February 7th 2016)

Her offical twitter account comes with a description;

Senator, Dog Lover and Whitecollar Boxer. Retweets are not an endorsement.

Her account is full of retweets that show various events, issues she has been involved in. It is unclear if this is Power herself retweeting or an employee, however it is extremely active. However both her Facebook and Twitter show her engaging in conversation with anyone who has a question or comment. Her Facebook promises a response ‘usually within an hour’ So in this sense, she is using Social Media as a instantaneous communication platform with her constituents.

Averil

While the majority of conversation on Twitter is positive, there are some negative points about Powers Posters around her constituency. Many of her poster were below the legal height or had littered local streets. However Power engages in conversations, which looks to be an attempt to curb this negativity.

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I will be interest to follow Averils Social Media presence over the next three weeks and through the General Election.

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