Councillors take on the beast called Facebook

Princeton’s Doug Pateman spoke at UBCM on social media and municipal politics

The very first time Princeton’s Doug Pateman learned social media could play a role in municipal politics was six years ago at the Union of British Columbia Municipalities conference.

A newly-minted town councillor, he listened to Chilliwack Mayor Sharon Gaetz share her own experiences.

“She developed a social media profile and invited anyone to talk to her and ask her questions. It was all of one week before that turned into a horror show and she received death threats.”

She deleted her accounts, walked away from the platforms, and is still mayor today, said Pateman.

“My take away from that is that you have to be very careful on how you speak, very careful about what you write and very careful about any topic when you weigh in.”

Pateman was on the other side of the podium last week at the UBCM conference in Vancouver, giving a presentation to other small town politicians and staffers about the realities of social media and government.

For the full interview, and comments from Princeton Facebook administrators, see this week’s Spotlight.