Monday, October 6, 2014

Will social media help Australian midwives become elected onto the Australian College of Midwives' Board?

In the world of Australian midwifery, we are seeing a first - the popular election of Directors and President to the Australian College of Midwives (ACM). Midwives are throwing themselves into the elections with some surprising results.

The ACM is the peak body for midwives in Australia, thus the most influential professional midwifery organization in the country.  Recent changes to the constitution has allowed for the election of Board members by the ACM membership, as opposed to them being nominated and appointed. The first elections are due to close at the end of October 2014.

What I have found interesting is how election candidates have turned to social media as part of their campaigning. I think all of them have their own Facebook page. It is clear that there are candidates who feel comfortable in the social media space and have been using social media for some time. Whilst others have been dragged into Facebook by supporters. In part, I think this has been influenced by Lesley Page, who was one of the first midwives to use social media to become elected to the presidency of the Royal College of Midwives. She has just been visiting Australian midwives so I have no doubt there have been a few people picking her brains.

What I am monitoring is how candidates are using social media. Is it a way of pushing out of information.... a sort of "This is me and this is what I do and think". Or will they use it to generate debate and conversation with midwives? What Lesley did so well with her campaign was to use social media, especially Facebook, to talk to people so they felt they knew her better and could approach her about issues.

So I'll be interested to hear from candidates after the elections about how they believed social media contributed to their campaign. I'll be especially interested to hear from those candidates who do not usually use social media, to find out what "return on investment" their Facebook page had for them.

Have you ever used social media to campaign in an election? What are your tips about "dos" and "don'ts"?

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