Don’t take it per­sonal on so­cial me­dia

The Compass - - EDITORIAL - Tony Ducey writes from French­man’s Cove, For­tune Bay

Over the past few years so­cial me­dia cer­tainly has changed the way we in­ter­act with peo­ple.

One time you had to rely on postal mail or the tele­phone to con­tact peo­ple. Th­ese days you can email some­one and they got it in sec­onds.

Face­book and Twit­ter have also changed the way we in­ter­act. Was a time af­ter high school you wouldn’t see any of your high school friends any­more. Not now as since 2007 I, and many oth­ers, have been able to keep up to date with high school friends and other peo­ple we haven’t seen in years.

Twit­ter also al­lows us to keep up to date with our fa­vorite celebri­ties and in­ter­act with them. I’ve in­ter­acted with peo­ple from one of my favourite TV shows, some­thing I’d never be able to do with­out so­cial me­dia.

Pol­i­tics is no dif­fer­ent. Over the past num­ber of years a lot of our pro­vin­cial MHAs have got­ten Face­book and Twit­ter ac­counts. It’s a great tool to keep up to date with your MHA or in my case, most of them. Of the 47 MHA’s cur­rently in the House of As­sem­bly I’m Face­book friends with 30 of them and am fol­lowed on Twit­ter by a few of them as well. It means a lot to me that they would add me to their Face­book and Twit­ter and al­lows for some great in­ter­ac­tion.

Un­less a per­son is be­ing ex­tremely nasty to you, you don’t block them or re­move them from Face­book.

Still, there are prob­lems that some­times arise. Be­ing a politi­cian car­ries with it some re­spon­si­bil­ity. While most MHA’s con­duct them­selves ac­cord­ingly, you get the odd MHA who re­moves peo­ple from Twit­ter. I’ve had one MHA who I won’t name re­move me from Face­book be­cause I crit­i­cized the Lib­eral party. To me, I crit­i­cize the party, I don’t crit­i­cize none of them on a per­sonal level. I’ve also had a Lib­eral can­di­date block me from Twit­ter be­cause I asked her about Lib­eral pol­icy.

To me those two in­ci­dents go against get­ting a Face­book and Twit­ter ac­count and be­ing a politi­cian in the first place. You serve the peo­ple. Un­less a per­son is be­ing ex­tremely nasty to you, you don’t block them or re­move them from Face­book. Es­pe­cially when I’ve struck up a pretty good friend­ship with an­other Lib­eral can­di­date over the past two years.

Also, when I asked a ques­tion to an­other Lib­eral can­di­date I got a very well thought out and de­tailed re­sponse. Those two han­dle so­cial me­dia the right way and I’m al­ways glad to hear from them. I’ve also in­ter­acted with a few other Lib­eral MHA’s who know my pol­i­tics but still wel­come my view­points.

Also in the fed­eral elec­tion this year I’ve asked can­di­dates in all 338 rid­ings their thoughts on is­sues fac­ing those with dis­abil­i­ties. While I didn’t hear from all can­di­dates I did hear back from a nice few, it was good to hear back from them.

So yes, so­cial me­dia is a great thing and a big part of the 21st cen­tury and be­ing an MHA and politi­cian to­day, it’s how you han­dle it that mat­ters.

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