Like teen girls to the Beatles, local politicians are flocking to social media sites like Twitter, but are they engaging voters or pushing an agenda?

Local bloggers have been abuzz with talk about recent politician followers and wondering about the motive behind it.

While social media isn’t particularly new, it is fresh to some politicians who have started using the sites while they campaign for various positions, including Danielle Smith, who is running for leader of the Wildrose Alliance Party.

“I think it’s a perfect way to get information out to my supporters and I think it also gives people insight,” Smith said of her recent Twitter and Facebook accounts.

While some critics say a fine line exists between engaging supporters and pushing agendas, Smith believes she is using the popular Internet sites properly.

“I have a section where people can write comments and what they think in real time, so I will have to take the good with the bad,” she added.

George Dadamo, set to launch his 2010 bid for mayor of Calgary, is also a relative newbie to social media, and while he was unavailable for comment, his spokesperson Riley McKenzie said the campaign is reaching out to younger generations.

“I think we’ve found a way to utilize new mediums and to maximize the messages we want to get out,” McKenzie said.

Mount Royal political scientist Duane Bratt believes in some cases politicians aren’t using social media sites properly. For example, he said, Liberal Leader David Swann accidentally posted about Calgary’s Lilac Festival a week before it happened.

“I think it shows that they aren’t taking it seriously, and in some cases, you don’t know who is even updating it for them.”

Latest From ...