Siri Agrell to campaign without social media, reset terms of public engagement

May 10, 2022

Siri Agrell to campaign without social media, reset terms of public engagement

May 10, 2022 (Parkdale High Park) ● As she officially launches her campaign, Parkdale-High Park City Council candidate Siri Agrell has deactivated her social media platforms and called on the Toronto tech sector to help her introduce new ways of engaging with city residents.

“Just because we can use something doesn’t mean we should,” said Agrell. “I might be the first Canadian politician to say we don’t need social media, we need a major reset in terms of how we communicate with one another, online and off.”

The global pandemic has left people hungry for more meaningful interactions, and coincided with increasing evidence that social media platforms are generating high levels of abuse targeted towards women, racialized and LGTBQ2+ individuals, while also contributing to deteriorating mental health and the undermining of democratic institutions.

“Technology is not the problem, it’s how we use it,” said Agrell. “Instead of Tweeting, I’ll be focused on engaging directly with residents and seeing if we can use digital tools to make people feel more informed and connected.”

Agrell made the announcement today as her full website launches and before an in-person kick off event tonight in Parkdale-High Park. She also issued a call to action in Toronto technology publication Betakit, encouraging local technology workers to think about how their skills can be applied to solving city challenges.

“I want to use technology in a way that builds connections and allows people to understand what I’m trying to do and why,” said Agrell. “I would love my campaign to become a rallying point for the brilliant minds of our city, a way for them to engage in the development of new tools and approaches that bring out the best in us and solve our shared Toronto challenges.”

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About Siri’s background in technology

Siri has worked in the technology sector as the Executive Director of OneEleven, where she supported many of Toronto’s top scaling technology companies. In 2021, she released a book called How to Get Laid Without Your Phone, based on a Walrus Talk of the same name in which she questioned technology’s impact on our interpersonal relationships. Siri was also Director of Strategic Initiatives for Mayor John Tory, where she oversaw files including government modernization, Sidewalk Labs and Toronto’s Amazon bid.