February 22, 2020
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An Effective Tool

Published Nov. 27, 2019

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I watched the Board of Selectmen swearing-in ceremony on Nov. 12; it was exciting to see a new board take office. Without this being shared on Facebook, I doubt I would have watched it.

All of the board members were asked to discuss their goals for 2020; I was encouraged, until our former first selectman Tom Banisch stated that he wanted the town politics to be moved away from Facebook.

Facebook is an effective tool to inform and alert the public, discuss concerns and issues that people are passionate about, and above all give everyone in town a voice. It is far from anonymous.

This year, we learned the history of Academy from Facebook by allowing people to share their knowledge and, more important, their memories of this town landmark. It was invaluable to learn about how Academy was gifted to the town and what the original intent of the donation was.

Facebook allowed us to voice our views about the new beach pass system as well as the need for lifeguards; maybe if the town had utilized Facebook to ask for input on the new system, we would not be in a contract we cannot break.

Facebook informed us about the very important candidate debates. Without the reminder on Facebook, I doubt I would have remembered the date.

Politics aside, our town Facebook page helps missing animals reunite with their families, disseminates information about town events, and spreads relevant news stories about Madison.

There are problems with social media, but when used responsibly it is an invaluable tool. I have never felt more engaged and informed during a town election since moving to Madison more than 15 years ago.

Facebook is here to stay; to say it needs to be removed from town governance is absurd and shortsighted.

Katherine Lawton