MAYOR Tomas Osmeña is not the only Cebu City official with a social media presence. Vice Mayor Edgardo Labella has a Facebook account, too. But unlike that of the mayor, which has been used to articulate his views on various issues, Labella’s account focuses more on the personal aspect. One can say Osmeña’s Facebook account is being used to advance his political agenda. Also, the page is well administered.
The mayor’s presence in social media is an attempt to control the narrative on various issues involving him and his running of the city—which is good because the act helps clarify matters. Rather than keeping mum on the said issues or making himself scarce from reporters, he regularly makes his views or policies known.
Osmeña, though, is obviously not the administrator of his Facebook account, which is not surprising considering that he is not technologically adept and has many things to do. Which only means that some of the views posted there may not be his. In this setup, he has to strictly monitor and supervise the posts of his administrator to ensure these reflect his sentiments.
What happened recently is a case in point. In a post on the Inayawan dump site controversy, the Facebook page handler added the hashtag, “TeamRamaBahogB—at.” Barug Team Rama councilors protested, but even they know that the mayor wouldn’t post that. Osmeña did deny posting the hashtag but in the process confirmed that somebody else is handling his Facebook account.
If anything, what this exposed is the character of the person or persons propping up his social media presence. Posting that hashtag can only be done by somebody who has the propensity to be vulgar, a trait that, if not reined in, would make the mayor look bad. Osmeña didn’t tell reporters who handles his Facebook account, but even then he should start lecturing him or her or them on basic decency.
This can be a lesson for government officials or politicians with a strong presence on social media or who want to use social media as a platform to advance personal or political goals and merely ask or hire other persons to do this for him or her. The account handlers must be chosen well.
Published in the SunStar Cebu newspaper on November 14, 2017.
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