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Following controversies, Sudbury councillors to craft social media policy – The Sudbury Star

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‘We’re elected representatives, but we have to play by the same rules’

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City council is getting serious about social media.

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During Tuesday’s council meeting, Ward 1 Coun. Mark Signoretti and Ward 6 Coun. Rene Lapierre introduced a motion to have staff develop a report that will guide the way forward on a social media policy for councillors.

As they noted, “social media is a prevalent form of communication for many elected officials;” however, there is currently no policy in place to guide councillors.

As a result, there is a lack of consistency and confusion around proper protocol – not all members of council maintain a presence on social media and those who do use the tools in different ways.

The two councillors introduced the motion to encourage “openness, transparency and proper conduct” from their peers.

In their motion, Signoretti and Lapierre asked that council direct staff to develop a report, to be presented during the second quarter of 2022, “with recommendations for a social media policy for members of council and local boards.”

Lapierre said the motion simply asks staff to develop a report for more information. He said his intention was to direct staff to go out and find the required information, and then to report back to council. It will be councillors who will mold the final policy, Lapierre said.

Signoretti said the policy would level the playing field.

“We’re elected representatives, but we have to play by the same rules,” he said. “We all get comments from constituents that may not be favourable or may seem unfair, but we put ourselves in this position. You take the good, the bad and the ugly.”

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Signoretti said a policy would ensure council members are not abusing the power of social media or misrepresenting themselves while online.

Eric Labelle, the city solicitor, said were a policy to be developed, it would be an appendix of the Code of Conduct and would be overseen by Robert Swayze, the city’s integrity commissioner.

Swayze has weighed in previously regarding the use of social media by Greater Sudbury councillors. He has recommended twice Ward 5 Coun. Robert Kirwan be reprimanded for his behaviour online; council agreed both times and issued the reprimands.

Most recently, it was discovered Kirwan and his wife, Valerie, were using a fake Facebook account under the name Jessie Timmons to administer their Valley East group, which boasts more than 18,000 members, and to engage members. They had not made it clear Jessie Timmons was an extension of the Kirwan household.

In 2019, Swayze delivered a report to council in which he said Kirwan had gone too far over the line of acceptability. He pointed to three specific statements Kirwan made in the Valley East group – one against David Robinson, an economics professor at Laurentian University; another against Tom Price, an adviser to Ward 2 Coun. Michael Vagnini and an outspoken critic of many city decisions; and a third against an unnamed individual who participated in the Greater Sudbury Politics Facebook group. Swayze accused the councillor of being rude and harassing towards the three individuals.

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It is also known that Kirwan has profited financially from the Valley East group. Ward 3 Coun. Gerry Montpellier also commented on Tuesday that he maintains Facebook pages for his various enterprises, which include maritime surveying and appraisal, motor sports and fancy cars.

While Signoretti and Lapierre said they do not have a problem with councillors earning money from social media, both said they should not marry the personal and political.

“When the content of that social media relies on their councillor’s position, it has crossed into a grey zone,” Signoretti said in October, when the motion was first added to the meeting agenda. “We need to eliminate that grey zone by not allowing councillors to post content about their positions on sites from which they profit.”

Ward 4 Coun. Geoff McCausland wondered whether social media pages should belong to the city. That would allow the group or page to continue after the official leaves politics and it would put “banning and blocking” into the hands of city staff – “based on clear guidelines,” McCausland said. Staff may also be more neutral than an elected representative.

“This is about setting a standard we can all adhere to so that we don’t have ambiguous rules,” McCausland said, noting social media sites are often mired in chaos and misinformation. “This is about making sure we can engage with our constituents without needing to be social media managers.”

Councillors passed the motion by a vote of 12-1.

mkkeown@postmedia.com
Twitter: @marykkeown
Facebook: @mkkeown

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Twitter expands feature allowing users to flag misleading tweets

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Twitter Inc said on Monday it will expand its test feature which allows users to flag misleading content on its social media platform to Brazil, Spain and the Philippines.

The company had introduced the pilot test of the feature in August last year, as a part of its effort to reduce misinformation on its platform.

It was first tested in the United States, Australia and South Korea.

Since it was first announced, Twitter said it has received around 3 million reports from users who have used it to flag tweets which they believe are in violation of its policies.

The social media giant last year launched another program called Birdwatch, which lets participants write notes and provide additional context to misleading tweets, though those notes are held on a separate website.

 

(Reporting by Manya Saini in Bengaluru, Editing by Franklin Paul)

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Media Release: HPEPH offices and clinics cancelled today due to inclement weather – Hastings Prince Edward Public Health

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Media Release: HPEPH offices and clinics cancelled today due to inclement weather  Hastings Prince Edward Public Health



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Triathlon needs substance, not 'fake' social media – McCormack – Tri247.com

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Chris McCormack is at the forefront of trying to take triathlon mainstream. He has firm beliefs on what is needed to achieve that, and also on what is holding it back.

While social media right now probably gives athletes their biggest gateway to audience and fan engagement, the two-time IRONMAN World Champion believes it can also be counter-productive.

The Australian, always opinionated and willing to talk about the state of the sport, believes it will only become seriously popular if the major personalities are authentic and really capture mainstream interest. Right now, he says, things risk heading in the wrong direction.

Athletes must be authentic

Speaking exclusively to TRI247, he said: “You need champions. You need athletes people can relate to and you need athletes with the courage to be authentic. People follow people. They always will.

“We push heavily in all we do at MANA Group and thus within Super League and all our projects in the storytelling component. Look at “Drive to Survive” and the uptake this has brought within Formula 1.

“We have been telling this to IRONMAN for years, but they never wanted to invest in that (and it’s understandable as this is not their business model), so it was something we pushed to the forefront: making documentaries and storytelling around our athletes. If you follow us on our channels we do this across all our athletes. Relevance is substance – and substance is valuable.

“Social media is a hugely beneficial tool, but nowadays the fact this has been handed over to the individual has its limits as they always present the perfect version of themselves; this to be honest is boring.

Chris McCormack Super League TriathlonChris McCormack Super League Triathlon
Chris McCormack says athletes need to be real and authentic, not perfect.

“I know I shake my head at the fakeness which has sort of just become an accepted norm. Everyone is so connected and critical of everyone it is a difficult environment to build authenticity and connectivity out of.

“The problem with adopting these filtered lives is that they don’t inspire or capture momentum to build a sport on. It is a very narcissistic self-promoting world now and that is fine, if it wasn’t so fake. Mainstream is easier to access now; it’s just harder to hold onto.

“The sport needs to have the substance to support any star it creates, and that has never been the case. The sport at the ITU level was built around federations who are amateur at their core. They could not hold onto and support true professionalism. Even the ITU uniform restrictions limit that.

“The proof of the pudding in a fall from professionalism in a sport is athletics. It can support one or two stars nowadays. The uniforms and the lack of authenticity and stars limits its progression.

“Triathlon can go mainstream, but we need athletes with the charisma, character, and responsibility to put it out there and go after it. It is why we love the Norwegians right now, as they are the most authentic athletes the sport has had in years.”

Kristian Blummenfelt / Gustav IdenKristian Blummenfelt / Gustav Iden
Kristian Blummenfelt and Gustav Iden have taken the world by storm.

The route to ‘Money’

McCormack is a huge boxing fan, and he used a fight-game example to illustrate the point he is making.

In May 2007 Floyd Mayweather Jr fought Oscar De La Hoya in Las Vegas in what turned out at that point to be the richest bout ever.

Mainstream interest in that event peaked in no small part thanks to the fact HBO invested in a documentary series which charted the lives of both fighters in the build-up to the event. ’24/7′, as it was called, exploded onto the scene.

The result was an event where the build-up was way better than the actual fight – and 2.4million Americans each paid almost $100 for the privilege of watching on PPV.

I personally remember the impact 24/7 had on that bout and the ones that followed. I interviewed both fighters in the build-up, and then covered fight week in Las Vegas. The buzz and excitement was off the charts – 10,000 fans rocked up for the weigh-in alone…

The day before the fight I spoke with HBO’s Ross Greenburg, the creative force behind it all. He was blown away by what had fallen into his lap. The Mayweather team was a mix of outrageous characters, and the behind-the-scenes access he had made them household names.

‘Pretty Boy’ Floyd became ‘Money May’ and eventually earned billionaire status, while his dad Floyd Sr, his Uncle Roger and BFF 50 Cent provided a wild supporting cast. It was must-see TV.

While most sports might struggle to match that entertainment factor and cast, the success of that production resonated strongly with McCormack.

He said: “Look at boxing and how they did it with the HBO 24/7 series that exploded and pushed boxing to the next level of major money-making sports. The Oscar De La Hoya vs Floyd Mayweather bout, that was covered in the build-up to this event and had the HBO 24/7 series rate higher than the actual fight, showed that this type of communication is necessary to create an interest in the game.

“We committed to that last year with SLT and the “Invincible” documentary we put together for Vince Luis. I think the sport needs the platform and the athlete stars and a commitment from the league owners and the event owners to invest heavily in that content and storytelling piece. We need to create and build that momentum around the events we own.”

Vincent Luis Olympics 2012 Brownlees Super League DocumentaryVincent Luis Olympics 2012 Brownlees Super League Documentary
Vincent Luis recently featured in a new Super League Triathlon documentary.

McCormack on the PTO

The Professional Triathletes Organisation has also invested heavily in storytelling – particularly in the build-up to the inaugural Collins Cup. McCormack says the tools and the talent to create great material are there. Now the personalities are required.

“What we at SLT and PTO are doing is what is needed: investing heavily in the production and content around our sport and pushing it out. I think organisations need to start collaborating for the benefit of the sport regardless of the business model, and realise that a rising tide lifts all ships.

“The talent is available to promote. We just need the content, the authenticity, the racing and the buy-in to consistently push in this space. It is a slow bleed but after a while you will see the fruits of the work.”

The challenges which the PTO faces in its bid to make elite triathlon a truly sustainable sport for professionals are something McCormack inevitably has a strong handle on.

“The PTO does a great job supporting the professionals over the longer distance and trying to build some value in this style of racing. He also knows the sheer size of the task.

“I think the value is there; the difficulty they have is building that value around a spectator base that is not interested in it. You require the champions and the names to make it worthwhile.

“Everyone is so flippant about comparing us to golf or tennis. But let’s be honest here: I don’t play tennis but could tell you 15 tennis players off the top of my head. I don’t play golf but could name 15 golfers immediately if you asked me.

“Triathlon doesn’t have that luxury and it is also a sport you do, you don’t play, so it has a different spectator base. Most people who watch our sport do it.

“The PTO is doing their best to sexy up long course racing. This is cool. It’s just the dollar cost and the business model around that which will require mass participation and sponsorship dollars to make it viable long-term outside of investment.”

IRONMAN a different model

The flip side of what the PTO is looking to build is of course provided by IRONMAN – which has built foundations based on mass age-group participation. Not the professional elite.

“The IRONMAN business model is about selling 1200-dollar entries to any one they can as many times as they can at as many events around the world as they can,” said McCormack.

“You can see the drop-off already in cost-cutting around event set-up, finisher’s towels and medals and just the “Ironman” experience when you compare that to, say, 15 years ago.

“They have increased the quantity of races, the number of participants and almost doubled the entry fee. Professionals are a bleed on income, so they do the bare minimum to support them.

Changing the game

“For this, the PTO has changed the game and it was needed. I find it refreshing working with PTO as our interests are aligned. We did this from a short-course perspective but more so looking at the viability of the professional element in the sport and how we could build that out quickly and with sustainability.

“You must own the events. You have to own the league and you have to own the content you put out. Only then can you create that framework that gives substance to a professional racing series in the sport.

“From my perspective in MANA Group we work with them across multiple projects and are aligned with them as part of our Sub7 and Sub8 event. SLT already works alongside PTO in a small capacity. We will do more together as it presents, but sustainability and viability in any start up is the key, and we have had a very difficult two years that’s for sure.

“Discussions like this ensure we are all pushing in the right direction.”

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