Thanks to those who played the Whatcom County Council Match Game, which asked you to match the council member with his or her quote about Facebook.
This was all a warm-up to a story I filed this afternoon about the County Council and social media — particularly the pitfalls sites such as Facebook bring to our current understanding of public-records law. The law is a little fuzzy when it comes to council members’ use of social media.
“It’s a gray area. There are no hard and fast rules,” council member Ken Mann said.
That’s one of many things Mann said in interviews I conducted with him for the story, which is slated to go into tomorrow’s (Wednesday’s) paper. Another thing he said was ...
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“I have found that social media is very powerful and effective at two things: disseminating information and offending people.”
Of course the observant match game players already knew that because Mann participated in the game himself. Not only did he recognize his own quote as his own, but he got the other five right, too. So did some others, including Wendy Harris. All those hours spent in council chambers paid off, for both Mann and Harris.
Here again are the quotes from yesterday’s match game blog post, with their sources:
1) “There are people who have bees in their bonnets, who will engage you on social media, and I’m not sure Facebook is the right place to have a long-winded argument.” — Carl Weimer
2) “Anything dealing with county business, I just think it’s inappropriate for it to be out there in the social media. I take the job seriously. This isn’t a lark.” — Pete Kremen
3) “I have found that social media is very powerful and effective at two things: disseminating information and offending people.” — Ken Mann
4) “I think it’s kinda cool for a person to get a little snapshot of their elected officials’ lives other than on the council, just so they can see what kind of person they are. ... I think that’s a great use of this concept of social media for elected officials.” — Sam Crawford
5) “I don’t post stuff on Facebook but a lot of people do. It’s the preferred medium for a lot of people. It therefore makes me obligated to speak in the language of my customer.” — Rud Browne
6) “I never had a Facebook account. ... I like it real personal. I like to talk to people in person.” — Barbara Brenner
I believe everybody, including the contestant who only got one right, correctly identified the Brenner quote.
As a bonus, I’ll add a line from Barry Buchanan, the one council member who hadn’t contacted me for the story as of Monday afternoon. He called today:
7) “I use Facebook extensively for information gathering. I have a diverse friendship base (my political life, my music and my church). “I get to see a lot of things, and I value it a lot.” — Barry Buchanan.
Incidentally, only one of the seven quotes above made it into my story, and six out of seven council members get quoted in the story. I had to recycle Brenner’s quote because that was the full extent of our interview. I sensed that was the first and last word she would have about social media.
Thanks again for playing. Since I got such a good response, I’ll try to reprise my quote match game again — and the opportunity may arise soon. We at the Herald intend to speak to all six of our state legislators in early January, for a session preview story.