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10 Things You Should Know Before You Go to Social Media to Complain About Your Community

Complaining about Council, public works staff, and all the things you think your community should be doing on social media is, in my humble opinion, getting a little out of hand. Before you decide to take your beef to social media, pretty please consider the following:

  1. The people in charge for now are your friends and neighbours. They have no better idea about getting things done than you do. They need time and support to learn the rules, and most came on board without any idea there are rules.

  2. Administrators in small population communities are often the brunt of every decision the Council makes. They are the messenger. We are not supposed to shoot the messenger. We are not supposed to yell at them, and we are not supposed to say mean things about them on social media.

  3. The federal and provincial governments subsidize our communities through provincial and federal funding and grants. Our population invests in us through countless volunteer hours. You most likely do not pay enough taxes and utility fees to pay for your current level of service.

  4. Many of our municipal governments inherited multiple expensive problems due to the impact of short-term decision-making by some or all previous councils. Keeping utility rates lower than the service cost leaves many communities today without sufficient funding to fix their existing infrastructure. Once the water and sewer go, it can be challenging to maintain the community.

  5. Municipalities are governed by legislation, meaning they cannot do many things people expect of them. Before you go to social media to complain about what they are not doing, go to a meeting and find out why.

  6. Today's decisions may not have a significant impact for a decade or more. That means that the people on Council today are not around to experience the effects of their decision when it comes. The ones in the seats when a significant infrastructure fails bear that burden.

  7. Community engagement is critical to long-term sustainability. Not only do people have to care about their community, but they also have to act as they do, which means getting involved. So many complaints I see show that their belief is out of line with the truth.

  8. We all see you and what you write. It is a mystery that people will complain about their community on social media where everyone can see them but won't send a letter with their name on it to Council? Nothing should get solved due to a testy message on social media.

  9. As a taxpayer, you get a vote. You do not get to yell at town employees. You also do not get to call them names in writing on a public page.

  10. Change is fundamental to sustainability. Progressive leadership is necessary for sustainability. We must look at ways to create revenue within our communities if we are ever self-sufficient.

It is important to complain to your community leaders. Corruption, conflict of interest and other issues happen all of the time, and community leaders are accountable by the nature of their position. However, using social media to bully your leadership does not work and makes the writer look bad.

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