“You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make them drink.” It’s an old adage, but like a lot of things, there’s a ring of truth to it.
It’s a good thing Gardner council updated their social media policy, but they have had one for several years.
The problem is getting everyone to adhere to it. Over the past few years, there have been many instances when ill-advised comments by elected officials have lead to upheaval.
The lure of social media is great. It’s also somewhat anonymous – for most folks.
People can develop an online personna that’s witty, clever or acrimonious. You can be 6 foot when you’re really only 5 foot 8. Blonde when you’re really a mousey blonde.
Your social media personna can become an instant expert on disease, sports or politics.
Social media is almost a game — who can say the most outrageous thing, and then get their “friends” to pile on.
Sometimes social media discussions devolve into inane, often illiterate comments, sometimes downright hostile and mean spirited. You’d probably not say the same thing to someone in person, where good manners (hopefully) still rule.
It’s important to realize people (and employers) look at social media pages and make judgments about you.
So it’s important, especially as an elected official, or anyone else representing an organization, to utilize their free speech in a responsible manner. Yes, you have the right to say what you want, but you can also be held accountable.
Think before you speak. Think before your write.