Filed under: Alberta, Arts, Calgary, Marketing, Politics, Technology
As 2009 comes to a close I wanted to take a look back. It was a good year for me personally and I think this blog shows some of the highlights that come to my mind when I reminisce about the last year of the decade. I could simply select my favourite posts, but I decided why not not just let the readers “select” by highlighting the most popular posts on this blog for 2009.
So without further ado, the most popular djkelly.ca Blog posts of 2009:
14. What kind of bridge will $25 million get us?
May 22, 2009
This was my first blog post about the soon to be built Calatrava bridge. I decdided I would take a look at the design limitations given to Calatrava and try to predict what the bridge might look like. While, I was right about it not being white with soaring cables, I wasn’t even close to the guessing the Chinese finger trap design, which is much more ornate than I was expecting.
13. Conversing with Alberta politicians on Twitter
June 4, 2009
A useful post that should probably be updated given how many more Alberta politicians have joined since June!
12. New Ward Boundaries Demystified
February 21, 2009
A simple post created by laying the old ward boundary map with the new map that was being proposed by the chief electoral officer. (Showing off my Photoshop skills.) It turned out to be a post that proved it was sorely needed.
11. Loving or hating Calgary’s new bridge is not as easy as it sounds
July 29, 2009
This is probably one of my favourite posts of the year, as I went through what I observed to be each of the areas of complaint about the proposed Calatrava bridge and outlined which were fair game and which were not. It was my attempt at adding clarity to an issue extremely misunderstood by Calgarians. While it landed at number 11 on the most popular posts, I don’t think I was overly successful because people still complain about the price with little understanding of “why”. If you’re one of those folks, it might be worth a re-read.
The last blog post on the old blog template! It holds a special place for me for that reason, but most people probably just appreciated it for what it talked about – as outlined in the post title. This is the most proud I was of our council this year. They painted themselves into a terrible corner, but admitted their mistake and righted their wrong. I wish they would have done this more times during 2009.
9. Vanessa Porteous, ATP Artistic Director Designate
January 14, 2009
I am shocked an arts related post ranked so high on this list! (And it’s not even the highest one!) Is it because of the lack of local entertainment reporting resources? I think it might be, because non-Hollywood entertainment news tends to take a couple days to make it into the papers. Maybe I should take up Metro Calgary on their offer to blog about Calgary arts for them… It could prove to be a very successful blog that maybe long overdue.
8. Doug Elniski: how to do it right
June 24, 2009
This post – along with number 5, which I wrote a day earlier – simply outlined where things went wrong in MLA Doug Elniski’s mini-Twitter scandal. This particular post provided follow-up and greater context to comments I made in several media interviews on the subject. (You can say SO much more on a blog than in a media interview!)
7. University of Calgary cutting 200 jobs
July 14, 2009
Out of all the posts in this list I think this is the closet to “regretting” one as I come. Unlike all the other posts (save the honourable mention) this post was “breaking” news instead of my usual commentary on the news. I didn’t mean for it to be however! Here’s what happened: the UofC sent an email to all staff saying they were cutting 200 jobs. I heard about this and asked the individual if it was okay I mentioned it on Twitter. They said yes, because it was sent to all staff and thus obviously public info now. The problem was, UofC never sent a press release. So when I posted it on Twitter I was inundated with media requests for more information. The result was I had another source send me the text of the email and I posted it on this blog. That night the television and radio news lead with the story and it was front page news in the papers the next morning. I’m not sure if the lesson here is about the power of Twitter, or to always keep your communications department in the loop when making major announcements. Maybe both.
6. Progress and respect
November 30, 2009
In the aftermath of the first Reboot Alberta conference I summarize my thoughts on the participants themselves.
5. Doug Elniski: now just another walled off politician?
June 23, 2009
(See number 8 first.) This is the blog post that started it all. I’m not sure why no one else was talking about Doug Elniski’s comments in context of his use of social media. It still baffles me that people think social media is some sort of special entity instead of what it actually is: just another way to talk to people. It’s nothing special, but is highly effective. This post was also was popular enough to result in me being invited to talk about his comments on CBC Calgary’s The Calgary Eyeopener, CBC Edmonton’s Edmonton AM and for a feature article in the National Post.
4. The #AskEd Accountablity Window ends tomorrow
December 3, 2009
Just like number 5 this was me talking about Alberta politicians and their failures with social media tools – although this time Mastermaq got the press coverage a week later
3. How to fix Ed’s communications problems
December 14, 2009
After number 4 I felt like I had to address the Premier’s communications problems appropriately. It’s bizarre how he’s lost the media and the public so thoroughly by a simple failure to communicate. He’s our premier and I want to see him, and thus us, succeed. This is my attempt to throw the premier a bone. We’ll see if he and his team take my advice or if they continue to fumble their way through 2010.
2. Look out Alberta, you’re about to get “rebooted”: First Impressions
November 28, 2009
I honestly think the Reboot Alberta movement – along with the Wildrose Alliance’s rise – is the single most important thing to happen in Alberta politics since the creation of the Progressive Conservative party. This post outlines my initial thoughts after the first day of the conference. The fact so many people read it gives me hope that Reboot Alberta is on the right track in their discussions. You can expect more thoughts from me on this movement in the very near future.
Yes, an arts story made it to number one on the list! And for such a short blog post?! The people spoke.
Honourable Mention: “Open Government” coming to Calgary?
July 21, 2009
Usually you expect to see an honourable mention at the bottom of the list, but I think this one deserves to be at the top of the list. July 21 had more people visit my website that any other day in it’s history. By a LONG SHOT – almost twice as many as any other day. There was only one post written around that period of time, and it was written on that very day. I think what happened was the main URL of this site was circulated and shared rather than the actual URL of this paticular post. Therefore I don’t have accurate numbers on exactly how many people visited this particular story, but the numbers are just so overwhelming I had to include it.
I wrote this post during the morning hours in a business centre of a hotel in Portland, Oregon. I had been given permission from Ald. Pincott and Ald. Ceci to announce the open data notice of motion the day before it became public when the council agenda was released. People from all over North American immediately sat up and took notice and did so by reading this post. Amazing. Look for a lot more on outcome of this notice of motion in early 2010.
For those that follow my Twitter feed and my blog you know I have have had an entirely split focus for the past couple of days. My blog has dealt exclusively with the Doug Elniski issue while on Twitter I have posted dozens of tweets over the same time regarding the City of Calgary’s PlanIT public consultation process going on at City Hall.
PlanIT is an extremely important document laying out the ‘plan’ for how Calgary will grow over the next 60 years. As a result public input has been sought for quite sometime and ‘for’ and ‘against’ side are now providing their thoughts in person to Council. The ‘pros’ concluded last night after two days of presentations (about 110 people signed up to speak) and the ‘cons’ began immediately following (about 60 people signed up to speak).
Last night – at number 97 – I provided my thoughts. Below are my comments to council:
Thank you for allowing me to the opportunity to speak. My name is DJ Kelly, I am an administrator in the not-for-profit sector and president of the Winston Heights/Mountview CA.
I’m happy to answer questions from the point of view of our CA but today I’m simply talking as an engaged citizen.
I wanted to begin, if I may, by thanking Council and Administration for showing vision in creating this document. I’m confident we can all agree, that no business or organization can possibly be effectively run without a big picture strategic plan.
I’m reminded once again of one columnist’s comment from sometime in the late 90s that Calgary is “the city that planning forgot”. With the approval of PlanIT no longer will we be able to be the butt of these kinds of jokes. PlanIT finally provides Calgary with the strategic growth plan columnists and citizens alike have requested oh so frequently.
I’m hopefully the cries of “those fools down at City Hall have no idea what they’re doing” will be, if not eliminated, at least lessened because of this document.
The benefit of speaking toward the end of the “for” or “pro-PlanIT” list is I don’t need to get into the reasons why you should or should not support PlanIT. Instead I can marvel at some of the fantastic comments made by previous speakers.
The main one that comes to mind is Derek the Urban Studies student from UofC. I think he brought forward a perspective that many have not thought of when discussing PlanIT and it bears repeating: our generation will not live the same kind of life our parents and grandparents did. Just as they did not live the same kind of life as those a generation before them. There are no pioneers or gunfighters in our midst any longer.
None of us in this room are psychics. We cannot predict the future and should not purport to. Even the City’s own marketing for the PlanIT response process makes light of this fact. I cannot say what the city will need in 60 years, and despite the protests of others that I’m sure are coming, they cannot either.
Look at what we planned on 60 years ago. Those are the very things we are now struggling with and that people smarter than us have shown to be unsustainable. Even the poor bulging city budget shows that at the very least we need to think differently.
This is why the “spirit” of PlanIT is far more important than anything else. So long as we can agree with the points and goals laid out in the first few pages we are heading in the right direction.
The one thing we can say for sure is that PlanIT will change and grow over time. It will have to be a living document. There will be variations as we move forward. We do not need to approve the perfect plan this week. However I think PlanIT lays an excellent the groundwork for the future and I’m proud to live in a city with this kind of vision.
Another thing I think is important to note is that every speaker who has lamented the non-inclusion of the airport tunnel has self classified themselves as “in favour” of PlanIT. I’m encouraged that despite their disappointment, they still have the foresight to see what PlanIT can do for the city.
I am interested to hear the comments of those not in favour of PlanIT. From what I have heard through the press it sounds like the majority are from one single industry, whereas those who have spoken in favour appear to represent a large swath of industries. Having PlanIT receive such wide-spread support leaves me further encouraged.
Personally I’m more concerned with the City’s track record of follow through on ambitious plans. My thoughts on that can be found in tomorrow’s post for Alberta Venture’s Think Alberta,
I won’t get into them today other than to say I encourage City Council to have the courage of our convictions, approve this big picture plan, and get on with the process of building the better city I know this council wants.
Questions followed from Ald McIver about my statements around implementation. I answered that, yes, indeed I do see this as the major concern facing council moving forward and regardless of what planning document we approve it will continue to be the major issue and Council and Administration has serious work ahead of them. More background on that is in my Alberta Venture Think! Alberta post that will be available at 1pm today. (I’ll cross post here following that.) Part II goes up on Friday.
Ald Chabot congratulated me on my timing for showing up shortly before my presentation time. I thanked the internet and the Council webcast. He followed up with another question but to be honest I don’t remember what it was. I remember it being akward and me not really understanding what he was asking. It felt adveseraly (is that even a word?) and I certainly didn’t mean for it to. Sorry if it came across that way!
My blog post from yesterday about MLA Doug Elniski’s comments about women and equality made on his blog, and about participants at the Pride Parade made via Twitter quickly became the most viewed post in this blogs history. (Practically doubling from the previous high!)
That post was particularly popular with Government of Alberta officials – at least that’s what the stats tell me. Or at least it was popular enough that I was invited to be a guest on both CBC Radio One’s Calgary Eyeopener and Edmonton AM to talk about my thoughts around Doug’s use of social media and what he said. Once the interviews are posted (if they’re posted) you’ll probably be able to listen to them online at those links.
The interviews were both quick and and I didn’t necessarily get to say everything I wanted, so I thought I’d share those thoughts here.
- While I don’t agree with Doug’s comments I fully support him. He said something dumb and he knows it. He’s human, we all say dumb things from time to time. I’m impressed with his handling of the situation however; he did an excellent job apologizing with the openness and honesty that made his Tweets and blog so refreshing in the first place. It wasn’t simply the standard empty apology one has come to expect from a politician. I wish I had an audio link to it so you could here it. It’s worth a listen.
This is the main reason why I don’t think he should have deleted his blog. His honesty and engagement provided through the blog and Twitter – up until this point at least – I think should have allowed him a fair bit of patience from the public in this situation. If he would have apologized online and allowed us to see the process he was going through to make amends, I would not have been surprised to see come out on the other side with more supporters than before.
I really do think we want politicians who represent us and are willing to communicate and engage in what concerns us. We don’t need another “walled off politician”. I hope Doug won’t become that because of this error in judgement.
- I also hope this won’t discourage other politicians from communicating with constituents via these newer tools. As you can here in the Calgary interview, host Jim Brown mentions the Alberta PC party may be coming out with guidelines to monitor their party members online communications more closely. This concerns me a little.You can make as many guidelines or memos as you like to control a party’s members on the internet, but when it all comes down to it the only point guidelines will really set out is “don’t say dumb things”.
I would argue that is the same advice you would give to them if they are talking giving a speech, writing a newsletter, or talking casually to friends.
The point here isn’t that an MLA said these kinds of things online. The point is that he said them period. Social media is not the culprit in this situation. I hope the PC party doesn’t make the mistake of not seeing it the same way.
The only other option is to not allow your party members to converse with consituents at all. And I think that is a terrible choice.
- I did get to touch on this in Calgary interview, but for me when it comes down to it I want my elected officials to be engaged. I want them to hear what I and others are saying, and then make the decision they feel is in the best interests of their constituents. Social media provides direct access that no town hall or newsletter in a mailbox could ever give.In the future this kind of engagement will be expected of our political leaders. Currently about 40% of the population of Alberta is under the age of 30. These are the people learning to expect to know what their friends are doing on a regular basis. This is happening via text messages and status updates. There is no stopping it as it has become rooted in our culture. In 10 years about one third of the voting public will fall into this category and expect to know what politicians are doing on our behalf on a regular basis. To get elected you will NEED to master these tools. Our elected officials may as well lead the way and start on this course now. After all we elect them to be leaders.
PS – Please don’t just have a staffer update your accounts. We can tell the difference and will ridicule you and penalize you for your lack of transparency. Social media is about dialogue. If you are not responding you obviously don’t get it and don’t want to. And at the end of the day, remember this: who wants to elect a person who is non-responsive?
Did MLA Doug Elniski do something dumb? Yes. Was posting his thoughts online the mistake? No.
This is what makes social media such a powerful tool when it comes to politics: you get a chance to see inside the mind of our leaders and what makes them tick. And as you can imagine, when you get a chance to look inside someone’s mind you might not always like what you see.
The alternative to this is what we have been doing for generations. In that example, we elect someone without really knowing much about them and then either approve of what they do on our behalf or become belligerent and shocked when a massive scandal blows up.
I would argue social media like Twitter and Facebook allow us to get an inside perspective of what our elected officials do and think and that is a good thing. If they are corrupt or disengaged, status updates may give a peek at that attitude. If they don’t? Well they were just lying to us anyway so we’re no worse off then we were before.
Personally, I don’t agree with Doug’s comments. When I first read his tweets at the Edmonton Pride Parade I thought to myself, “Gee, I don’t think those are appropriate comments to say out loud.” And when I read what he said at a grade 9 graduation I thought, “That does not seem appropriate at all.” But you know what? He has a right to think and say those things. Just like we have a right to judge him based on what he said.
I would much rather an elected leader show me their true face and let me decide what to do with that information, than live a lie and pretend to be something they are not.
Where I really became disappointed with Doug was with his reaction to the controversy created by his remarks on his blog. Rather than apologizing on his blog and trying to help us understand why he made the remarks and what he is doing/going through in getting past them, he simply deleted the blog all together.
And in doing so left us all to wonder what is going on in his head and became just another walled off politician. And that is our loss.