Council candidates turn to online for campaigning
SOCIAL media sites such as Facebook and Twitter were an aside to the Fraser Coast council election campaign four years ago. But in a short time that has changed.
This election, the sharing and creating in the online world has become essential for candidates with videos, question and answer sessions and updates about policy.
Mayor Gerard O'Connell has posted two videos to Facebook rejecting claims made by councillors Chris Loft and Rolf Light, including accusing the pair of bullying.
Cr O'Connell and Cr Light along with mayoral candidate Jannean Dean are among the most prolific users of social media platforms in this campaign.
With more than 1920 likes, Cr O'Connell has the most Facebook followers while Cr Loft has just short of 600 likes on the same medium.
Ms Dean has more than 1700 members of her Facebook group Fraser Coast Have Your Say.
"You get to tell your story," Cr O'Connell said.
Cr O'Connell said he also felt he got to reach a number of voters he would not usual meet at community events or while doorknocking.
For Cr Loft, the prevalence of social media was a big change compared to the 2012 election.
He said he found it beneficial but it was only part of his strategy.
But he was concerned about the validity of some claims made.
"There are some outrageous claims that people make," he said.
Cr Loft then went on to speak about Cr O'Connell's video as a way to belittling himself and Cr Loft.
University of the Sunshine Coast senior lecturer Renee Barnes said it was no wonder candidates were using the medium to get their message out.
"One of the keys things about social media is that it takes out the intermediaries," she said.
Dr Barnes said social media allowed politicians to get past the checks and balances of the traditional media and spread their message directly the people.
But she did warn the public need to keep their scepticism and to not take all posts at face value.
How important is social media in the lead up to the election? Have your say and join the discussion below.