As you may recall, several months before the November 2013 election I conducted an experiment with social media, specifically with Facebook. I was attempting to see how responsive to a friend request current council members, and potential council members would be. So, I submitted a friend request to each category above, as well as to the Mayoral candidates. Overall, the results were mostly positive. All but two current council members are my Facebook Friends. All but a few of the contenders also accepted my friend request. One person who was a council member at the time, but subsequently lost the election also ignored my request. That one person of course was Laure Quinlaven. Who?
This particular blog article came about as the result of a comment made at the May 14th, 2014 Council meeting by Council-member Chris Seelbach. Mr. Seelbach, addressing Chief Jeffrey Blackwell, commented that several police officers have mentioned to him that they liked the ability to address the former Police Chief directly via his Facebook page. Chief Blackwell dryly informed Mr. Seelbach that he and James Craig have different management styles. He further informed him that he does have a personal Facebook page, and the Cincinnati Police Department has a Facebook page as well. That comment caught my attention for several reasons. First off, Mr. Seelbach is one of the two current council members who have not accepted my friend request. My thought was, practice what you preach Mr. Seelbach. I initially submitted the friend request several months before the election but to this date the request has been ignored. Additionally, I submitted a friend request several months ago to Jeffrey Blackwell as soon as I discovered he had a Facebook page. This request too has been ignored.
Being the proactive type, I immediately fired up my email software and composed an email to Chris Seelbach and cc’d Jeffrey Blackwell. In this email I advised him of the lack on his part to respond to a friend request and pointed out that he and Jeffrey Blackwell had this in common. Thus far, after a week. This email has also apparently been ignored. Although being a face book friend may seem insignificant, and it largely is, what is significant is the fact that elected politicians and high-ranking civil servants can blatantly ignore communications from the public. What if I was emailing about something much more important than Facebook friending, would that also be ignored? Actually, I think it would. I have, in the past, sent emails to other council members, to the City Manager, and to various other officials. Typically these emails are ignored. Maybe I am on a black list. Maybe the City of Cincinnati has an email filter automatically deleting any emails from me. Maybe I am getting paranoid. Maybe not.
This entire experiment has been great fun. I enjoy poking the bear, and I enjoy making public the shortcomings of our officials. I am not an unreasonable individual. I know that the council member and the police chief are busy and important people with little time to devote to matters such as this. But on the other hand, all the other council members (except one) and the former police chief, managed to squeeze that one click accepting me as a Facebook friend into their busy schedules. As a side note, the other individual who has ignored my request and subsequent email, is Christopher Smitherman.
Please notice the links to Chris Seelbach, Jeffrey Blackwell, and Christopher Smitherman’s Facebook pages. Perhaps you will have better luck becoming their Facebook friends. If you do, let me know as it will help to add to my paranoia. 😛
Those are my thoughts, what are yours?
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