There is a lot of media nationally about how the General Election is going to be the most important election ever and while I completely agree, there are local elections too and residents in Surrey Heath will have a chance to decide who represents them at Surrey Heath Borough Council.
I believe social media will play a very important role in the democratic process, more than ever before and that is why I have created the hashtag #SurreyHeath2015 which will make engagement of your local representatives / candidates much easier. That engagement can go both ways.
The hashtag works on twitter and facebook. For those who do not know what a hashtag is I thought I would try and explain in a very simple terms.
A hashtag allows all posts that contain a hashtag to be grouped together so that they can easily be found. Clicking/tapping on a hashtag is all you have to do to have all the posts containing that hashtag displayed on your screen with the most recent at the top.
In the case of the #SurreyHeath2015 hashtag not only can the candidates add the hashtag to their posts so that residents can easily find posts relating to their election campaigns but it is also a great way for residents to highlight particular issues in the community and draw the candidates attention to those issues. If you feel strongly about something be it a national, county or local issue then post something on your facebook or twitter and use the #SurreyHeath2015 hashtag.
I have also extended an invite to all local political parties and independents to have their own contributor accounts to the Surrey Residents Network podcast channel. That means they can add their own podcasts to the channel without their podcasts being moderated. Recording a podcast is very simple and the only equipment needed is a smartphone. I have also set up a playlist for all podcasts relating to #SurreyHeath2015 so they are easy to find.
Often I hear people say Social Media should not replace face to face communication, and I completely agree with that. But digital channels of communication should not be ignored either. There is an enormous vibrant digital community in Surrey Heath that is alive and well and I for one am proud to be a part of it.