I attended a meetup of Calgary podcasters one evening during a March 2010 business trip. It was five months after Alberta’s Wildrose Party had elected Danielle Smith as its leader, and two months after I’d published my first report on the role of social media in Canadian politics. Not surprisingly, part of the conversation during the meetup was on that very subject.

Albertans are passionate about their politics. And podcasters are capable at providing great “tape.” Those two realities mixed perfectly that evening during a discussion on how Danielle Smith was compelling people to listen to through her relatable online approach. Because she engages on a human level, people who don’t agree with her politics find themselves willing to listen. And listening is necessary in forming a considered opinion — perhaps, at some point, attracting and even converting voters.

I recorded the meetup figuring I’d use it at some point. I haven’t. But I still have the recording four years later. In fact, four years less a day after the podcast meetup, I interviewed Danielle Smith during the Manning Centre Conference (MNC2014) about her use of Twitter; how it’s about the person and the approach, not the tool.

This episode of the Digital Public Affairs podcast features excerpts of the 2010 meetup, and my conversation with Wildrose Party leader Danielle Smith.

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