Councillors and the use of social media

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Sir,

Congratulations to The Oban Times for highlighting (front page 16th Feb) the shift in local democracy brought about by social media.

Now apparently, when residents want to complain about a problem they go first to their favourite social media site to express their frustration. Previously they would have got onto their local Councillor for the area but unfortunately it is not possible for a Councillor to monitor the social media sites of each individual resident in their ward.

With regard to the problems with refuse collection in Soroba it seems from your report that the internet was awash with complaints before it reached the attention of local Councillor Mary-Jean Devon. Once she was aware of the issues she took immediate action to address the problem.

The lesson is that residents can criticise the council over a problem on social media, which is probably all that some people actually want to do, but if you really want something done about it you should contact your local Councillor. Each Councillor has an email address and some of them have a Facebook page.

Sadly, social media seems to bring out the nasty side of some users and Councillors have to put up with uncalled-for abuse, a unfortunate by-product of being in the public arena.

Actually the front page article the week before (9th Feb) concerned the same problem about bin collections in Soroba and that article describes how local Councillor Roddy McCuish had become involved on behalf of local residents.

David Pollard,
Salen, Isle of Mull.