In working with the team, I had a chance to get to not only get to know Julian, but his team and most important, his supporters.
I am a firm believer that the company you keep says a lot about you and who you are.
I could go on and on about the people I know, and got to know who are supporters of Julian. I found myself hard pressed to find someone I did not respect or admire in some way who supported him or was a volunteer on his campaign. People of all ages were lining up at his headquarters to get involved in volunteer his time.
Our web based Town Hall Meetings were a first in San Antonio.
When it comes down to it, I have two reasons I support Julian.
1. He will get things done and serve our City's needs best.
2. On the national and global stage, he can best represent our city for economic development.
Julian represents the next generation of our great City. I have a personal theory that as the economic recovery takes place, we are going to see companies re-thinking their expansion and re-tooling plans. I really think San Antonio is on the verge of an economic and intellectual renaissance.
I really think that Julian is the right leader at the right time to lead and charge the way.
Note: For the record, I live in Alamo Heights, so I can't "vote" for Julian. But I can support him. And that is something that is so powerful about the social web. You can voice your opinion, be heard, and hopefully, have influence.
The Julian Castro for Mayor (San Antonio) Campaign continues with more innovation on the Social Web. (Disclosure: I am a volunteer consultant to the campaign).
On Wednesday night, April 1, from 8 to 9 PM candidate Castro is going to hold an event for college students at his headquarters, 3003 Broadway, where they can come in person or log in online for an open Town Hall Meeting which will be broadcast on the Internet.
We are seeking college students from all the colleges and community colleges in the metro San Antonio area. In particular, I'd like see Political Science majors (and their Professors) take part to witness and be a part of the political process.
During SXSW, Randy and I hung out at the event on the look-out for applications and concepts for the Castro campaign. Here is his well articulated article....
This past weekend, as many of you are probably aware, I attended SXSWi in Austin. I had to cut the trip short to get some work in this week but it’s still going on. It was my first time but it’s definitely not going to be my last. I’m already planning my trip for next year and plan to pitch it at work as well. Never before have I seen such a great collection of creative web and social media enthusiasts as I did this past weekend. What’s even more exciting are the ideas I got to bring back to the Castro mayoral campaign. To continue that excitement I know Julian wants to talk about these ideas to see how we can help advance civic development in San Antonio through them.
While I was there I ran into Alan Weinkrantz who I’m working with on the Castro campaign developing online strategies. Alan’s a great individual who helps promote social media and ideas across America. He’s a guest columnist with the Express-News and has been incredible to work with and share concepts with. In a blog posting after Friday’s ssession he hit on something I agree with - we are on our way to a creative and economic renaissance. As Alan puts it in his blog entry “with all this positive energy abound, I sense an economic and creative revitalization of our country, and our world at large, in the making.”
Alan and I will be sharing our ideas with Julian when we get back together primarily because Julian wants to know how we can leverage these technologies to help change and grow San Antonio. That’s encouraging to hear from a potential mayor of the seventh largest city. It shows maturity and vision for moving San Antonio forward. His campaign has already started to demonstrate that vision with the virtual town hall conducted recently. Feedback from that event alone was great and demonstrated new ways to connect the voter and the candidate directly. As I shared this with people at SXSWi many thought it was a great idea and plan to take it back to their cities.
My last session that I attended before heading back home was on creating regional whuffie. It was very exciting to hear how others have leveraged the concept of whuffie and applied it within their communities. This concept of regional whuffie is where groups and environments are fostered to bring together people using social media to help spark innovation and new ideas for the community. It’s about leveraging the social capital of a community for the common good of the community. Here’s a link to the links referred to in the panel.
Looking at the projects section you’ll see a lot of links to projects in various cities where this concept of regional whuffie is being put into practice. One of my favorites is junto.org, a 21st century version of the original concept developed by Benjamin Franklin in 1721. Just as Franklin pulled together to help debate issues of morals, politics and natural philosphy to improve the city of Philadelphia the new era junto is focused on the same concepts leveraging new media to help facilitate the discussion. Already this group is making progress by helping save and improve the Philadelphia Free Library, the successor to Franklin’s Library Company commonly known as the first public library in the country.
Granted, social and new media cannot solve all the problems of San Antonio today. But leveraging these technologies can help facilitate deeper discussion and hopefully drive new ideas for consideration as a path to solutions. It’s a noble thought but having a leader who understands the value of using these technologies helps bring the concept along much further. This is new for both Alan and I but with the help of others in the community we feel we can move forward with progress.
Here is a guest post that I have re-purposed from the blog of Luis Sandoval, who was a participant in Tuesday's Virtual Town Hall Meeting that was held by San Antonio for Mayoral Candidate, Julian Castro. I'm a volunteer for the campaign helping out on social media strategies.
Luis is a friend. A very smart person. And a great writer & social media expert.
Take it away Luis....
Last night I had the pleasure of participating in a local experiment merging new media and traditional media in a social media event held by mayoral candidate, Julian Castro. I was unable to make it to both events, but the one I did make it to I wanted to share with everyone.
I first want to share the relevant questions and answers that were exchanged during this amazing discussion happening both in person and streamed on the internet thanks toBlogCatalog's, Bloggers Unite initiative. The event organized by Alan Weinkrantz was a huge success and regardless of political affiliation was an interesting take on the merging of two worlds, similar the the recent US Election, which finds President Obamasitting at the head of our nation.
After the Q&A reporting I will give my final analysis of the event as a whole and where it fits into local politics.
Engagement The gathering started at 6:05 p.m. with an opening by Alan Weinkrantz followed by an introduction to Julian Castro who thanked everyone for being present. The event was attended personally by bloggers, traditional journalists, and other media types from San Antonio that had been invited to this private event. The audience was live on the internet via chat room but the video stream was available for them to watch and interact with.
Julian wanted to express his interest in seeing technology and media efforts infused into every aspect of the city at the community level, the political level, and the personal level. He expressed his love for they city he grew up in and how he wants his efforts to help the city become a functional entity. He looks to embrace social media tools to allow individuals to engage him in questions, comments, thoughts, and have a real say in the course of how the city is navigated during these tough times in America. All lofty goals, but he seemed genuine in his statements.
He expressed his concern with voter turnout talking about how only 13-15% of voters turn out to engage in the process, with a huge gap remaining in the 18-30 demographic. Hoping that social technology can help increase the turnout, especially within that demographic by speaking to those individuals on the formats that they are most familiar with.
His goal is to ultimately create a dialog that does not currently exist and provide just another way for people to enter into the political process. Questions
Question 1: From the internet regarding San Antonio's green initiatives Point 1: Mentions the importance of sustainability; wants San Antonio to be a leader Point 2: Pursue ways to put San Antonio into the "Green Economy" building green collared jobs
Question 2: From invited blogger regarding Julian's plan on dealing with poverty SA is ranked as one of the poorest big cities in the nation. Julian wants to continue to build programs that help the less fortunate work to become functional citizens for their own personal lives. Two problems to work on to help alleviate some of the poverty issues: 1. Illiteracy: Relatively high numbers need to overcome their lack of being able to read or write. Build programs that will help elevate the number if illiterate and get them to where he knows they all can be. 2. Teenage pregnancy: A key problem for girls under 15, work with established assistance programs like Project Worth, and build on after school programs to help keep youth engaged.
Question 3: From invited blogger regarding the creation of jobs He commits to make job creation a priority focusing on two points: 1. Wants to create a competitively trained work force by working with public libraries, public school districts, after school programs, job training programs, and universities and colleges in the city. 2. Foster the growth of current economic strengths such as the BioSciences expansion at Ft. Sam.
Question 4: From the internet regarding the creation of a financial district in Downtown Julian believes that San Antonio is prime to build itself a financial district with its proximity to Mexcio and the rest of Central and Latin America.
Question 5: From invited blogger regarding issue with San Antonio school districts Julian agrees that better efficiency is required when it comes to the school. Because a lot of his initiatives place the burden on education and training, he'd like to review the current status of the school system and possibly collaborate and consolidate where he can and where it seems most appropriate. He recognizes that the issue is bigger than just the city and goes up the chain to State and Federal Government concerns.
These are just five of the questions asked during the hour and a half session that was amazing informative. Other questions fielded included inquiries on taxes, communities and neighborhoods, transportation, public services, technology, economics, and current processes within the local government.
It was a good turnout for media types in person, while 30+ people engaged the mayoral candidate online, proving the experiment was successful in terms of gauging an audience online.
Ultimately this mayoral candidate proved himself to be articulate and ready to tackle questions without any kind of preparation. Julian's approach is definitely one with family and communities in mind. In all fairness I was unable to attend the other candidates event, but I welcome any opportunity to hear that side of the story too.
As an experiment I think there was an overall success. The convergence of traditional media with new media types was a good atmosphere and established an understanding that there is a place for both to coexist.
My only concern with regards to the technological advances that our city is making, is that we cannot forget those that are unable to tap into those networks. There are vast populations in our city without a computer much less an internet connection. Any mayoral candidate must not lose sight of those constituents regardless of the cool "newness" of the internet's social networks. Social media must be understood as an extension of the constituency not the focus, because that will distance those individuals not connected to modern trends.
Several outlets posted articles on the "Social Media War." The focus was who was doing what rather than the message. The messages that I heard at what I attended were strong, and evident that every one had a chance to be heard. From what I hear about the event that I did not attend, there was a similar atmosphere.
Despite Twitter, Facebook, and other video networks and their popularity, let's hope the candidates do not lose sight of what their real duty is, as mayor of this fine city we are the investment, the people, and ultimately that is what they will be judged on.
I thrilled to be doing some Pro Bono consulting for Julián Castro, candidate for Mayor, who announced today that his campaign will host the first Media/Blogger Summit of 2009 at the Castro for Mayor campaign headquarters located at 3003 Broadway, March 10, 2009 from 6:00p.m. to 7:30p.m.
This summit, the first of its kind in this mayoral race and in the history of San Antonio politics, will also be webcasted live over the Internet. In this unique setting, mayoral candidate Julián Castro will field questions from both political and social media-centric bloggers from both San Antonio and Texas.
The summit will feature an online chat room and live webcast, providing the citizens of San Antonio the opportunity to directly engage and be virtual participants.
It will also mark the launch of the first-ever Bloggers Unite event for a political campaign. Bloggers Unite enables like-minded bloggers to join forces and show their support for causes ranging from the environment to women, autism and literacy.
Debbie Weil Debbie Weil, aka the MonaLisaOfBlogging.com, is a corporate blogging and online communications consultant and the author of the forthcoming "The Corporate Blogging Book: Absolutely Everything You Need to Know to Get It Right" for Penguin Portfolio (2006).