News Views: Tweet thereafter

Editorial on a councillor's criticisms of the District of Maple Ridge's social media policy

Maple Ridge Coun. Corisa Bell is asking that she be allowed to tweet or post to Facebook information or comments during council meetings.

But she’s been told not to, and fears the district’s current policy prevents councillor engagement with the public and instead funnels social media interaction through the municipal communications department.

She thinks elected representatives are capable of doing at least two things at once and that council should move into the digital age – even including personal social media contact information on individual Maple Ridge council business cards.

Bell has now put forward a motion to have the district’s social media policy reviewed, and said that the district is over controlled and too focused on legal concerns if councillors make personal comments.

Quite probably so.

However, she is wrong about using social media during meetings.

She might be capable of composing a tweet while listening to the discussion at the council table.

But it is disrespectful and distracting to do so.

How can one properly engage in a conversation if his or her head is down, typing something on their phone?

We can’t legally drive and text.

Students are asked not to use their phones in class during instruction time.

In a movie theatre, people are asked to turn their phones off.

That’s not to say Coun. Bell can’t partake in social media. But is she sharing vital information, or politicking?

The social media policy should address that, how that would be determined, who could monitor it, can it even be controlled?

No one is suggesting Coun. Bell not use her personal accounts, of which other council members have also.

But whatever Bell must share through social media – to engage the public, share her opinions – can easily be done after the meeting.


– The News

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