Three Things I Like About the New Alberta Liberal Party Website
A lot of things about politics is what you say, the policies you stand for, and what you vote on in the legislature. One thing that is rarely talked about, and is even more important, is how you go about being involved in politics. One of the ways to look how the ‘how’ is through the way that a party showcases itself on the internet — particularly the Alberta Liberal Party’s new website. (By the way, did you know that the Alberta Liberal Party is the most influential Alberta political party on twitter?)
These are three things I think are notable and that I like about the new Alberta Liberal Party website.
(1) It’s open source.
Utilizing WordPress, CivicRM, plugins from open source providers, and the open source movement, I can definitely identify with the website. One of the great things about open source projects is that it has people contributing to it internationally, from young and old in their basements fiddling with a new bit of code to capable professionals. It’s a wide swath of development talent, interest in using a social means to create contributive technology, and that, in the end, we have a stable, secure product being worked on by thousands.
Also, there are some fundamental principles of open source that come into play here. There’s a level of transparency with open source technology, from freely accessible code, readily accessible tools to communicate information to the public, and to pull on a collaborative and contributive cohort of people. There’s also the level of security in that open source provides in transition between one web manager to the next: it’s technology that’s widely consumed and already known by a lot of folks — making it easier to pick up the slack when one person drops the ball. Another value brought to the table is that open source is not free — it demands that a person that uses the tool must also give back to the community and that it’s a two-way exchange between partners.
(2) It’s about engagement
Rule #1 about politics is that it’s always about people. It’s about how you engage with them, how you act amongst them, and support each other. With a focus on engagement, a two-way conversation, and on inclusivity, how the website engages the public and the membership is a great thing indeed. This website continues this very fundamental engagement.
(3) The Focus On Values
A party website is more than just talking to the converted. Previous iterations of the website for the Liberals have been focused as a tool to communicate with the membership, to garners membership renewals, and, of course, to ask for more money.
This website focuses on values. A conversation about shared values, about how the Liberals fit into the Albertan public, and the representation we seek for regular Albetans, is are the forefront in this communication effort. This website isn’t for the policy wonk or the converted Liberal: it’s for the average Albertan curious about what this Alberta Liberal Party stands for, and it delivers.