Jim Watson's TwitterGate

Jim Watson's TwitterGate
Posted on April 20, 2013 | Mitch Brisebois | Written on April 20, 2013
Letter type:


Ottawa Sun

The Ottawa Sun's Sue Sherring writes about the shocking news that Ottawa mayor Jim Watson has blocked the Twitter account of the CasiNO advocacy group. This of course isn't shocking to us. Watson blocked us way back when he began campaigning for his latest job. Dozens of people have often complained of being blocked by him. He once responded that he only blocks people who are rude. I guess by rude he means having an opinion different than his.

It's an odd strategy. It doesn't cost anything to tolerate divergent opinions on Twitter. By blocking people so readily, he does risk to be seen as intolerant to folks not agreeing with him. Some in the Twitterverse have even remarked that it's another sign of his "autocratic" ways.

What's also surprising is the speed at which Watson blocks people. The CasiNO tweeps got blocked after only two tweets.

As far as we know, Calgary's Naheed Nenshi has used Twitter to a remarkable political advantage without blocking dissidents.

About The Author

Mitch Brisebois's picture

Sometimes I tweet for the South March Highlands / Carp River Coalition @SouthMarch


Blocking people's ability to provide feedback through a social media tool that you're promoting to use for this purpose, while also reducing opportunities for public engagement at the same time, is not Open Government. It's the opposite and its not acceptable in Canada's capital in the 21st Century.

I'm really surprised Watson's communications team would not see the downfall to applying 20th C. PR tactics to a 21st C. communications technology. Ie. controlling the message from beginning to end is no longer possible with social media because the hypocrisy is obvious to all those who use it.

As long as our 'Terms of Service' are followed, no one will be blocked from publishing on Unpublished Ottawa. This is because the intent of this website is to foster debate, understanding and respect for other people's opinions.

Great letter Mitch. Thanks for sharing!