Facebook – The Positives & The Negatives
Last year, I decided to plunge full steam ahead into social media. I did it, in the certain knowledge that there would be both positive and negative aspects.
I know many Councillors who will not take the risk, some of whom have tried and have been put off by a constant stream of abuse, either by political rivals, individuals with a particular axe to grind or even some “trolls” who think it is good sport to undermine anyone else who tries to do something positive in the community.
My Website, Facebook Pages and Twitter account have proved very good ways of communicating what I have been getting up to.
They also allow for inter-activity, something I value because new ideas and debate can be very stimulating.
I often hear Councillors stand up in the chamber and express an opinion about a local topic, but I find myself wondering just how in touch they are with the people who have elected them.
At best, some of them might talk to a handful of friends in the local club where they drink. I think this is a very good way of getting a very unrepresentative view of what most people in the town think.
One of the particular features of Facebook is that it attracts a much wider audience than I would normally get. In fact, I’m finding it to be a great way of canvassing opinions from much younger people than myself.
The downside to some of the debates that take place is that some people just won’t exercise any discipline when debating something.
If I have an alternative view, they say it’s because I am accepting donations, or party supporters have leaned on me, or that others who agree with me are prejudiced. It gets a bit frustrating ignoring the insults and referring them back to the facts of an argument.
I’m quite thick skinned, but only human. It sometimes makes me want to give up explaining when faced with “you politicians are all the same” dismissals, simply because I don’t and (in fact) can’t agree with everyone all of the time.
I’m greatly heartened by the fact that the people who know me best tend to be my strongest supporters.
They are smart enough to know that we can disagree on things, but still respect each others point of view.