DAY 31 | Under the microscope award

Nationals leader Brendon Grylls

There has been a lot of talk about the regional seat of Pilbara.

It is currently held by WA Nationals leader and challenger of big mining companies Brendon Grylls. It is also home to a One Nation candidate in the media for his interesting opinions on single mothers.

And it is a seat that is increasingly hard to pick, with polls suggesting Labor, Liberal or One Nation will pick up critical votes from the Nationals. Depending on how preferences flow, there could be a surprise result.

We won’t guess at who will win on the day, but on social media at least, the race is between the Nationals’ leader Brendon Grylls and Liberal candidate Mark Alchin.

How the candidates rank

Mr Grylls has been promoting an ambitious plan to raise taxes on two of the state’s biggest mining operators. That’s gained him extensive state and national media coverage.

He has by far the most fans on Facebook (2,699) compared to Mr Alchin (817), Shooters, Fishers and Farmers candidate Fiona White-Hartig (462), Labor candidate Kevin Michael (143) and Greens candidate Brent McKenna (121). The seat is also being contested by a Flux The System candidate, Mark Dunn, and Davyd Cooper for the Micro Business Party.

(One Nation candidate David Archibald’s page went dark on Facebook for much of the campaign but is now back up — with 59 fans.)

Mr Alchin, shown in blue above, can’t match his opponent for profile but is punching above his weight with activity, thanks to Liberal Party support.

His feed includes a reasonable amount of party-generated posts on his Facebook account but he supplements with consistent, local content.

His photographs show a good combination of a selfies and shots with Pilbara residents, and his videos, while low budget, reflect his local focus.

In fact, this context-free video, of him walking down a driveway and into a house, has captured 1500 views. Some of those views are from us as we try to work out what it’s all about.

But when it comes to overall reactions — and driving the conversation — it’s Mr Grylls all the way.

Why does it matter?

The electoral district of the Pilbara has 21,000 people living in 406,500 square kilometres. That’s the same number of people as live in the City of Subiaco, but in a land area bigger than all of Germany. In other words, door knocking electors is a hard slog.

But Facebook is a great way to get messages out to electors, wherever in this wide brown land they be. And remember that Western Australians are the highest users of Facebook of residents in any state. We check Facebook on average 57 times a week. Really. So winning the social battle is part of winning the war.


DAY 30 | Pin the policy on the party award
DAY 32 | In the spotlight award