For a long time now I’ve been observing the social network postings by some politicians at every function, meeting, or party, going on throughout the Tri-cities. Even when these politicians go to an out-of-town event there appears to be a compulsion to check in.

Often it seems like a race to see who can post first, somewhat like CNN breaking news. In fact if you observe closely at some functions (including council meetings) some politicians are busy posting on their smart devices (you can tell by the time of the posting) and really not paying attention to what is going on around them or what the speaker is saying.

Some might claim to be a multi-tasker, but for years neuroscientists have been debunking that myth because humans cannot context switch like computers. Put the word multi-tasker in your resume today and you probably won’t get the job (for an admitted lack of focus)! Also, the results of texting while driving are now irrefutable proof.

If you were to check out all of these postings, or photos, on your favourite social network you’d soon realize how time consuming this must be. With so much time taken up attending all of the various functions it makes me wonder where these social networking politicians find the time to read and absorb the reams of material for all of the meetings.

My participation at these social gatherings is infrequent so I don’t have much to post, but it’s always great to catch up with friends, and to occasionally meet new people. Heck, I do the periodic live post myself, and I’ve recently been checking out Foursquare, although I’m not yet sure why, and I really don’t aspire to be a networking “Social-lite” either:) If I tell you that I enjoyed the ambiance or a particular menu item at the local restaurant will you be paying attention, is it shallow of me, or do you even care?

Scoring the number of events or places attended, or connections made, would be like a politician scoring the number of committees chaired, positions held, or other affiliations; it’s pretty meaningless information so it’s difficult to understand what all of this social networking activity will result in, or even how to assess it.

The omnipresence of social networking leaves little doubt in my mind that these politicians must have their fingers on the pulse of public opinion (or their Crackberry), so I’m sure taxpayers must be reaping the benefits from all of this somehow; but how?

A multitude of reports have been rendered and a body of public input has been collected at city hall, but there has been a long gap in actually delivering a viable vision for Port Moody.

About 15 years ago, “Residents for a Better Port Moody”, an offline group, successfully campaigned to change the course of Port Moody.

Today, I’d personally like to see a similar grassroots group on a Facebook forum perhaps, having a meaningful interaction to get below the surface of the one-off project mode (recreation centre, firehall, etc.), and then having publicly run “Meetup’s”, versus the traditional town halls or public hearings, towards a vision.

During these municipal elections it’s really great to see that a few candidates have already started to share and explain their visions online, albeit in smaller groups, but we need to hear and see much more of this; it’s been missing.

Reliance on the news media to become informed, or an All Candidates Meeting, is simply not sufficient either, and especially for new candidates, some of whom I suspect might well be better qualified than incumbents, but don’t have the name recognition.

Please share your thoughts.

Networking Social-lite
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