DAY 32 | In the spotlight award

Geraldton Labor candidate Lara Dalton

The polls in the WA election remain too close to call, and the same goes for the seat of Geraldton.

It’s a seat with some unusual activity going on.

The Nationals’ Paul Brown is a current member of the Legislative Council, but wants to switch houses. He’s been campaigning solidly for a spot in the Legislative Assembly, held by the Liberal Party’s Ian Blayney MLA.

Mr Blayney has held the seat for nine years.

Then there is Labor’s Lara Dalton and One Nation’s Wayne Martin, who could each be contenders in a swinging vote. The rest of the field includes David Caudwell for the Shooters, Fishers and Farmers, Greg Hall for the Australian Christians, Paul Connolly for the Greens and Independent candidate Victor Tanti.

Few of the candidates have amassed a significantly large social media following, however.

Which WA party is winning in Geraldton?
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Facebook fantastic

On Facebook, Paul Brown and Lara Dalton have similar numbers of fans and each make around 1.4 posts per day.  What separates them (and Mr Blayney) is engagement, as this chart shows.

Ms Dalton is balancing party-generated and personal posts, as well as photographs and videos, and her campaign video did hugely well.

The professionally shot video has had more than 5,600 views, as well as 78 likes and 16 shares since February 19. Two other videos are close to cracking the 5000-view mark. That’s a big win in an electorate with only 25,000 voters.

Finally, showing she has mastered what we think is an art, Lara takes a mean selfie.

Topping Twitter

Of the Geraldton candidates, only Mr Brown and Ms Dalton are on Twitter and this is where the Nationals candidate comes into his own.

@Paul_Brown1  is a long-time Twitter user (joining in 2012) who uses his account to air his views, share his news and engage publicly with other political figures.

He tweets twice as often as Ms Dalton, 3.5 times a day, and engages in conversations in about a quarter of his tweets.

He’s also not afraid to get into a debate, whether it is with the Chamber of Minerals and Energy …

Hey @CMEWA, remember when Sam Walsh said that @RioTinto were thriving as a low cost producer at $38 per tonne? It’s been above $90 all week

— Paul Brown (@Paul_Brown1) February 18, 2017

… or his political rivals.

@RodCaddies @DarrenWestMLC great to see that you One Nation lads are finally getting out of Perth and have found where Geraldton is

— Paul Brown (@Paul_Brown1) February 24, 2017


Why does it matter? 

Facebook has a far greater reach than Twitter, but there is nothing quite like Twitter for fast conversations and reaching out to people who aren’t necessarily friends or followers. Mr Brown is trying to keep his brand top of mind so Twitter is a useful place to be, given the presence of other candidates and journalists. For a new candidate building their profile in Geraldton as a grassroots potential member, however, it should be Facebook all the way. Particularly if you are aiming to be the first female member for Geraldton in 126 years. 


DAY 31 | Under the microscope award
DAY 33 | Sweeter tweeter award