Editorial: Actions speak louder than (Facebook) words

It was pretty exciting when Facebook first made its mainstream debut on the web. This was the brand new, grown-up way to create an online identity and interact with people from your own community and beyond.

Over the years, groups formed, businesses joined, marketing took off, and Facebook became the entity we know it as today: a bizarre hodgepodge of short videos, memes, sensationalist headlines and lots of debates and arguments – often political.

During election season, these ‘Facebook fights’ seem to skyrocket. The tension online is palpable – one wrong post or word sees a virtual attack – with commenters seemingly flocking to their keyboards to show support or condemnation.

But these posts – often long, run-on sentences meant to establish a particular point or position – do more than reveal how much time a person spends on Facebook.

Black Press reporter Paul Henderson spoke to defamation lawyer Brian Vickers last week, who said there can be legal consequences to those who ‘air their dirty language online.’

“A lot of people don’t know how rough it can be if you go posting on Facebook,” Vickers told Henderson. “Especially if you have assets.”

Read More: B.C. lawyer talks defamation during the municipal election

And during election season there’s even more at stake. Voters might have those negative comments and posts in mind when they head to the polls Oct. 20.

Facebook users can type anything they want into the blank slot at the top of community groups and pages, but it doesn’t mean it’s true. Candidates with good intentions, who care deeply about their communities, are not sitting in front of their computers all day. They are in their community, talking to people, learning about the people who live there and making connections, both with potential constituents and with neighbouring municipalities.

Candidates should be focused on the future of their communities, on where they see opportunities for growth or change, not on the actions or alleged shortcomings of other candidates or administrations.

Facebook can be an effective tool for politicians. It increases their reach, helping them connect with constituents who they may otherwise not hear from. It allows them to reach people where they are and hear their concerns in real time.

That’s all great, but in most cases, voters should put to use an old adage: Actions speak louder than words. Especially words typed from the safety of one’s computer.

Just Posted

AESS senior girls eyeing spot in basketball provincials

The team needs to move up one more ranking get a place in the championships

Agassiz man charged in 2014 snake venom death of toddler

Henry Thomas was taking care of the North Vancouver girl the day before she died

Chilliwack Chief Harrison Blaisdell climbs Central Scouting Bureau rankings

The 17 year old forward is now drawing a second round grade as CSB releases its mid-term list.

Classical paired with folk for Chilliwack Metropolitan Orchestra’s winter concert

Chilliwack Metropolitan Orchestra presents Tchaikovsky in America at G.W. Graham theatre

Community artists, amateurs wanted to create Kent anniversary logo

The 125th anniversary committee is hoping to choose a logo designed by the community

VIDEO: Harrison sailor looking for competitors to race model boats

Bernhard Van Velze is hoping to create a club for model sailboats at Harrison Lake

B.C. man fined $10,000 after leaving moose to suffer before death

Surrey man was convicted last week on three Wildlife Act charges

‘Blue Monday’ isn’t real, but depression can be

CMHA encourages people to prioritize their mental health

South Surrey mother didn’t have the intent to kill her daughter: defence

Closing submissions in case of Lisa Batstone underway

Anti-pipeline group wants NEB to consider impact of emissions, climate change

Stand.earth filed NEB motion asking to apply same standard to the project as it did with Energy East pipeline

Parole granted for drunk driver who killed B.C. RCMP officer

Kenneth Jacob Fenton will be able to attend alcohol abuse treatment, nearly three years after crash that killed Const. Sarah Beckett

B.C.’s largest public-sector union wants inquiry into money laundering, drugs

Union officials say Premier John Horgan and Attorney General David Eby have not ruled out the possibility of a public inquiry

Teen in confrontation with Native American: I didn’t provoke

Nick Sandmann of Covington Catholic High School said he was trying to defuse the situation

VIDEO: 11-year-old violinist practices for Vancouver Symphony Orchestra debut

Cloverdale student Da-Wei Chan will perform Jan. 31, Feb. 28 with the VSO

Most Read