Let’s Be Careful Out There

I have something to say about Social Media and politics in Des Moines. 😀

This town has no newspaper or other truly objective coverage of city hall. During my campaign I’ve doorbelled over 5,000 homes and actually talked with thousands of DM residents. And the sheer tonnage of misinformation, rumour, inuendo and just plain blather that people spout as ‘fact’ about various issues would break a freight car. Getting the public better information is something I hope to improve upon if elected.

But the current state of play is that I can count on the fingers of both hands the people who actually know the ‘real story’ on many issues going back decades. I’ve spoken with many ex-Council Members and City employees who have been surprised to learn what really happened on issues during their tenure. Des Moines politics has not exactly been a model of transparency over the years.

Then there’s the fact that once one gets to a certain level of networking, one learns at least two really embarrassing things about every person who has held office in this here town.

And here is my point: This not a small town anymore. But the pool of people who are truly engaged is very small. So my advice is to be extremely careful when posting stuff. Don’t write anything you wouldn’t say to my face. And once you’ve said yer peace? Let it go! This is not national politics. The rules should be different. Take it easy on the campaigning by proxy bullshit. That’s not your job. That’s the candidate’s job (the campaigning, not the bullshit. 😀 ) . Because, at the end of the day? We have to live and work together.

And I say this for a very practical reason:

I think y’all should want and encourage participation from candidates and electeds. At the end of the day, their words are what will matter.

But if you treat them as harshly as some of you now do, as if this is all some sort of ‘contact sport’ where one can just say whatever you want and then see what it kicks up? You pretty much guarantee that no candidate or elected will ever want to engage with anyone on social media. And that would leave us right where we are now–in a black hole of constant half-truths, speculations and rumour, completely removed from city hall. Is that what you really want?

IMO that would not be a good thing for a city with no newspaper and no objective news coverage.

Don’t ignore real issues, for sure. But please: try to be a bit more careful.

I have spoken. 😉