Social Media Success Story in Oakville Politics

Social Media Success Story in Oakville Politics

I grew up in a political family. My father was an City Alderman and my mother was a provincial Member of Parliament. They were both extremely committed to their constituents and serving the community where we lived. I remember our phone ringing during the odd dinner that they were home for, and one of them running off to speak with a concerned citizen. I remember the family Christmas that my father got a call from a constituent who had been plowed in, and him leaving to go and shovel her out. I remember biting my tongue when I heard snide comments about politics and politicians.

After talking politics every evening at home while growing up, I’ve stayed away from it in adulthood. I vote in every election and educate myself as much as possible on the issues, but I don’t generally talk about it, and I haven’t become involved in any campaigns. I do follow a few politicians on twitter, but that’s the closest I’ve come to getting “involved”.

This weekend I experienced a social media success story that might change that.

On Friday night, I realized that my water meter was leaking in my basement. The water had pooled into the underlay and the carpet was soaked. I called the region and they were very helpful and reacitve, and had someone at my house wihtin an hour to fix the meter. I soaked up the water as best I could with my Sham Wows (they’re good but not this good!) and planned to finish the clean up the next morning.

Saturday morning, as I explained what had happned to my parents, they immediately said that the region should pay for the damage, since it was their meter that caused it. I hadn’t thought of that, but I decided to call my councillor. I called both of my Ward 3 Oakville town councillors, leaving messages for both. A half hour later, I hadn’t heard back, so I looked them up on twitter. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find either of them. But I followed and had interacted with two other town councillors who are not in my ward. So I tweeted them.

Within a half hour, I had a tweet back from Alan Johnston (@alanjohnston).

I emailed him an overview of the situation and asked for his advice. He gave me a phone number to call and said that he was out of town, but asked me to update him. When I called the number, I was told that I would need to speak to someone who was only in during business hours, so I sent Councillor Johnston an email, thanked him for putting me in touch with them and told him I’d hope that they would help on Monday. In the meantime, I would be cleaning my basement.

Alan Johnston didn’t wash his hands of the situation at that point, even though it would have been absolutely fine if he did – I felt that I was taken care of. He emailed back and said he would try to get a hold of someone that day. When I told him not to worry about it, he replied that it was not a worry, and the email had been sent.

On Monday, I called the person I was told to call, and she knew who I was right away, saying someone had been in touch with her colleague over the weekend. Obviously, Alan had truly done what he said he would. Anyway, the woman I spoke to was very helpful, and I’ve just got my fingers crossed that they will process my claim.

Then Alan Johnston wowed me again.

Now, at this point, I have told Alan at least 3 times that I’m grateful for his support and that all is well. But, even though I don’t live in his riding, he has taken responsibility for my issue and is seeing it through to satisfaction. All because of a tweet on a Saturday morning.

I should mention that the other Councillor that I tweeted to replied within about an hour and a half, offering to help as well. Thanks to Pam Damoff (@pamdamoff) for her social-ness as well. One of the Councillors I called did return my call the following day. I still haven’t heard anything from the other one. I also received a tweet from the Town of Oakville – but not until Monday morning. Still, I appreciate it.

Just serves as another reason why I love social media and twitter.

And this social media success story may just persuade me to help Alan Johnston in the next town election – even though he’s not in my ward. I hope other politicians learn from this story. Social media is a place where you can engage and interact with your constituents, and gain fans and supporters – if you truly care and are social.




  1. alan johnston
    July 31, 2012 at 7:33 am

    Thanks Pam. Glad I was able to help. Alan

    Reply »
    • Pam (Author)
      July 31, 2012 at 7:39 am

      Let me know what I can do to help in your next election, Alan!

      Reply »
      • Alan Johnston
        July 31, 2012 at 8:27 am

        Thank you Pam. I appreciate your support. And I will be sure to call you for election help. You're on the list :) Alan

        Reply »
  2. Lori Davidson Hoyes
    April 2, 2013 at 8:55 pm

    Wow great...they paid for it..and came so fast...funny i am homeless in Oakville fighting terrorism....what politician would like to get me into a safe hotel and not hostel where my life would be in danger? As it is against the law to have me homeless...I went to city hall twice..and they wouldn't do anything for me at all....hmm...what's wrong with this picture? Shall I camp on a politicians front lawn next...or do I need to bust down the doors of city hall to find warm spot to sleep in...tell me...who is concerned about my well being and safety in Oakville since being threatened here by three different under the the lake...building fire to stay warm in the past..tell this how u treat ppl who fight so hard for justice? anyone out there..or are u all corrupt illuminati pricks?

    Reply »
  3. Lisa A
    April 10, 2013 at 7:44 am

    Did the town end up paying for your claim? I am currently experiencing the same thing and would love to know what to expect from this. Any info you can tell me would be appreciated.

    Reply »
    • Pam (Author)
      April 20, 2013 at 7:27 am

      Hi Lisa - so sorry for my delayed response! Yes, they did end up paying for it. It wasn't a ton of money because I quickly cleaned up the water by renting a carpet cleaner and buying a few cheap fans and a dehumidifier, but I spoke to someone at the Region who was very helpful. They paid for my purchases. Good luck with your situation!

      Reply »

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