July 17th, 2018

Lessons about social media

By Letter to the Editor on February 13, 2018.

There were three recent media stories about social media use. There are lessons in each.

First was our environment and parks minister, and local MLA, Shannon Phillips, who unwittingly shared advice aimed at reducing our impact on the environment. While rather innocuous, this was construed to paint her as a radical vegan who hates Alberta’s beef industry. If we demand our politicians not say anything that might be construed against them, then they will speak without saying anything. And democracy will suffer. Let’s let politicians be people and use social media like everyone else.

Second was a railway worker who posted racy photos of herself. Reading between the lines suggests she was actually fired for questioning senior leadership in a YouTube video. CP Rail’s CEO made $18 million last year off of a former public asset. And his ego is probably bigger than his bonus. Those who question leadership, regardless of how, don’t get ahead. Top-down bullying is rampant in corporate culture, and the only power that the powerless have is their voice. Let’s let the powerless have a voice on social media.

Finally was the Leduc man arrested for uttering death threats to our premier and prime minister on social media. Let’s not allow this on social media.

Let’s use social media like all media: a platform for passionate and critical debate about things that matter. Let’s leave nothing off the table, except attacks on others. And let’s allow the conversation to continue.

Tanner Broadbent


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2 Responses to “Lessons about social media”

  1. snoutspot4 says:

    Excellent letter. In particular, your reference to a person from Leduc calling for death of both Notley and Trudeau. Recently, a person in Medicine Hat has been charged for the same awful posts calling for someone to assassinate (murder) the PM of Canada. The reality is that both Notley and Trudeau were duly elected to their positions. Alberta is not collapsing and neither is our country. Facing threats of death or dismemberment is not part of accepting a position of leadership. I have yet to read social media commentary by someone who supports either Notley or Trudeau threaten death against the leaders of the respective Official Oppositions (i.e., Jason Kenney or Andrew Scheer). Why is that?

  2. Tony Pargeter says:

    It is an excellent letter to which I would say, “only in Alberta.”

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