Monday, September 13, 2010

Stampede to the Polls: Naheed Nenshi

Previous Profiles:
Ric McIver
Kent Hehr

In the third instalment of my 484 part series profiling Calgary mayoral candidates, I look at a man who has been writing about how Calgary should be run for many years. And he's finally decided to do something about it.

Naheed Nenshi

About Naheed: Naheed is a professor, a Harvard graduate, and a writer. Elitist.

He's best known for his work with the Better Calgary Campaign and his op-eds about how the City of Calgary should be run.

(Appearance: 3/10, Functionality 8/10, Content 8/10, Uniqueness 6/10, Overall 7/10)

Although I wonder how many grimaces had to die to get enough purple for the website, it remains a solid campaign site, rich in content and policy. Of particular interest are the 8 "better Calgary" ideas - each one easily explained in a line then elaborated on in pdf and podcast formats.

While the site has everything you'd expect from a political website, it doesn't have the polished look or feel of most campaign sites. Rather than being greeted by a picture of the candidate and the Calgary skyline, you get a slogan and homemade Youtube video on the welcome page. And, you know what, that's fine by me. Nenshi doesn't look or sound like a polished politician and he's not trying to be one - why should his website?

Social Media

Ahh...if only elections were held on Twitter, Nenshi would soon adding mayoral hashtags to his name.

Twitter: 1,549 followers and over 3,000 tweets.
Facebook: 2,053 fans
Youtube: Around 7,500 views of his home page video
Blog: A campaign blog that includes attacks on the front runners.
He also has an iPhone ap (pictured to the right) for those times when hourly Twitter updates won't provide you with the Naheed fix you need

My Take: Naheed is brilliant and has, hands down, the best ideas of any candidate on how to run Calgary. So, of course, he will not win.

That said, Naheed has done everything an outsider with low name recognition can do to break free of the pack. He's released ideas, he's gone hard at social media, he's gotten his name into as many news articles as possible.

Even though a lot of the candidates for mayor aren't doing much more than taking up space, having a policy wizzard like Naheed out there talking about ideas is good for this mayoral race and it's good for Calgary.

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