Aurora Citizen

News & Views from the Citizens of Aurora Ontario

“Blog” and other four-letter words

Posted by auroracitizen on November 7, 2010

After reading through the latest issue of The Auroran, I couldn’t help but notice there were a few references to this funny little creature known as “blog”. It seems to have caught the attention of some folks who appear to have some reservations about the use and application of this particular tool of social media. Blogs and blogging, have for some time now, been accepted by mass media outlets and governments worldwide, both as news sources, and as a means to communicate ideas.

It would seem for a few though, the blog represents a social media challenge. And since social media outlets and tools continue to expand every day, the challenge can be met 2 ways; understand it, learn how to work with it and make it work for you, or choose to ignore or attempt control of this growing trend in global communication.  In choosing the latter however, don’t be surprised if you get left in the dust.

Nigel Kean writes in his thank you letter that he hopes the new Mayor and Council will “get the job done without any bickering and hopefully no personal blogs”. No personal blogs. Maybe we should stop writing letters and giving opinions too. After all, letters, opinions (and blogs), all promote that nasty little bugaboo known as free speech. By contrast, it would seem that folks like Mayor-Elect Geoff Dawe and Councillor Evelyn Buck are quite happy with the opinion and free discourse blogs promote.

Outgoing Mayor Phyllis Morris also waded in on the issue, but in this case, she’s contemplating the creation of her own blog. Good for you Ms. Morris. She did note however, that her blog, if created, will contain “as much integrity as humanly possible”. You go girl. You teach us. You make sure that you create a higher standard for all of us to (try to) adhere to. David Tsubouchi may not be out of a job yet – he may land the role of “Commissioner of Maintaining Highest Integrity to the Phyllis Morris Higher Ground Blog”.

Finally, Wendy Gaertner stated her thoughts regarding social media. After reading her thank you letter, in which she warned us all that she will no longer remain silent when faced with both “direct” and “indirect” (?) criticism during this term (hope she’s allocated a fair deal of time to mount her challenges), she was then quoted in the lawsuit article as saying “…out of respect for everybody in the community, we need to decide what can and cannot be allowed in the new social media. Social media is a whole new territory”.

Yikes. Ms. Gaertner, for the record, I do not require you or anyone else to decide what can and cannot be allowed in the free-speech arena of social media. Your Orwellian view of decision-making for the community leaves me cold. There are those documented cases where governments have suppressed blogs and punished those involved. These cases stem primarily from countries like China, whose communist government’s idea of free speech is whatever they damn well tell you it is. As for the “whole new territory” comment, well I suppose that depends on your interpretation of “new”. Digital communities and online threads (the early forms of blogs) became mainstream in the early 1990’s.

Blogs are here to stay. Christopher Watts’ “Temporary Sanity” blog sets the bar high for intelligent social commentary and insight, while mixing it with biting humour and smart graphics.

Blogs represent a forum for free speech, and apparently, based on the recent huge increase of visitors, commenters, and posters to this site, a forum that engages the community like never before. Cheers to the Aurora Citizen. You have my utmost respect and support. You will soon be vindicated from this disgusting litigious attack on free speech. Blog on.

Posted by Matt Maddocks.

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45 Responses to ““Blog” and other four-letter words”

  1. Robert the Bruce said

    I just went on to Evelyn’s Blog. I was visitor # 100,000 since August 26, 2007. Congrats…

    Fuimus

    • evelyn.buck said

      Thank You . Since you made that comment the number went up to 100.091

      That is truly amazing and tremendously
      encouraging.

      Participation is alive and well in Aurora.

  2. Anonymous said

    A reminder for Wendy:
    11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month….i.e. remembrance services are today at 11:00am…. lest you forget again.

  3. evelyn.buck said

    “ROFLMAO… Thanks I needed a good laugh today.”

    A reference to Chris Watts follows and a “high bar for intelligent social commentary and insight”

    I would add sharp,incisive wit.

    Oscar Wilde’s name comes into it. An author whose plays reflect society’s hilarious contradictions as well today as they did when written decades ago.

    Now can anyone tell me what “ROFLMAO” means and how it belongs in a discussion at this level.

    • Luckywife said

      ROFLMAO!

      My Mom asked me what it meant just recently. So I told her. Then I had to sit through a 20 minute lecture about how rude society is nowadays and how unseemly it is for young people to cuss all the time. So I told to her that she shouldn’t get cheesed of at me, since she did ask. Then she launches into another lecture about how she’s been my Mom for 44 years now and I should know better than to tell her stuff she really doesn’t want to know, even when she asks!!!!

      Now that, was a WTF! moment, and that’s exactly how I said it to her, and no, I did not tell her what that means!

      Cheers,
      Luckywife

    • From Wikipedia: Rolling On Floor Laughing My Ass Off

    • Anonymous said

      Check out urban dictionary online

  4. Anonymous said

    I have a feeling I know what might be motivating the ex-mayor’s hypocritcal interest in blogging. As she sees this and other blogs as instrumental in undermining her glorious reign, I wouldn’t be surprised if she doesn’t do a “tit for tat” thing and use it to try to undermine the new council and certain members.
    I just don’t feel that she ever does anything that isn’t motivated by self interest and vindictiveness, especially if she remains teamed up with Evilina et al and continues with her lawsuit.
    I don’t buy the baloney about “passion for writing”.

    • Broderick Epps said

      Anonymous 9:35 wrote:

      I wouldn’t be surprised if she doesn’t do a “tit for tat” thing and use it to try to undermine the new council and certain members.

      Wouldn’t be the first time for Morris. Just ask Tim Jones circa 2000-2003.

  5. Matt,

    Thanks for this excellent post.

    I have expanded upon some of the points you raised in a piece over on my blog here:
    http://christopherwatts.posterous.com/blogs-are-whatever-we-make-them-defining-blog

    I know my blog’s audience is not that of the Aurora Citizen’s. I respect that and am not surprised to find fuddyduddies on here that do not agree with your opinion of my blog.

    Regardless I appreciate the compliment, and blogs are what we make them.

    I look forward to seeing more of them, and less of the “anonymous” comments here as we go forward.

    cheers

    Chris

    • Matt Maddocks said

      Cheers Chris. I’ve read a lot of blogs. Some have relevant and engaging topics, some share opinions, but most seem not much more than “daily-diary” type entries. Nothing wrong with that, but they don’t come close to generating the same sort of response and debate that “Temporary Sanity” does. More than post, you slam your opinion down on the table and say “there ya go folks, that’s me”. Under your own name, and with no apologies. Relevant topics, political and social. I have the utmost respect for that. So what’s not to like? Well, you’ve been attacked a few times here on the AC for some of your commentary, but it always takes the same route; a posting by “anonymous” or any of his/her variations on the name. Anonymous postings have always seemed to me to be a “double-edged” sword. It does allow for more blog and debate participation by folks who might otherwise feel awkward about using their real name (or an identifiable pseudonym). On the other hand, I’ve always felt that being challenged by “anonymous” is like them sneaking up and punching you in the back, then running away. If you have no idea who your challenger is, then you cannot take their comments seriously. I am however, absolutely stoked about the massive rise in blog communication by this community. This recent Aurora election campaign achieved many great things; first and foremost it’s given our town a great opportunity to regain it’s political composure, and get it’s community heart beating strongly once again (the “Aura”). As well, this campaign engaged its citizens like nothing I’ve ever seen in all the years I’ve lived here. People were talking everywhere; the coffee shops, the market, the schools, the pubs, the streets, and on the blogs. Free and open communication of ideas and opinions became mainstream again. I often felt, looking back on the last 4 years, that folks in town began to shut themselves away. Morris and Council sent a message saying “there’s nothing we can’t achieve”. A great positive statement, except that it was soon learned that the “we” referred only to the gang of 6, and their close friends. After a while, you begin to feel helpless, that the Mayor and gang were going to go ahead and do whatever they wanted anyway, democracy be damned. Soon though, Temporary Sanity, Evelyn Buck’s blog, and the Aurora Citizen appeared, and folks began to take notice. People who thought they were the only ones pissed off soon realized they had many friends out there who felt the same way. The buzz grew. As soon as Morris and Council started to take notice of the activity, that’s when the light (the one at the end of the tunnel) really started to grow. All of a sudden people who had made a lot of noise about how great the Mayor and her group were doing, started to look much smaller and sillier than ever before. The sight (thanks to the great photos posted on your blog) of Morris and what was left of her friends parading around in circles at Yonge & Wellington on election day, came across as sheer panic on their part. A few hours later, their fears were confirmed – big time.
      I’ve made many new friends in our community, both online and off. Communication is the key. Nothing beats sharing ideas and laughs face-to-face over a coffee at the market, but with blogs, the conversation can continue to flow, 24/7, 365 days a year.

    • Robert the Bruce said

      Mr. Watt’s blog posting today about GO Transit is almost the most offensive thing I have read. How can draw a line between GO’s initiative to change customer service and the fact that someone – who was not on a GO train – was killed by a train? To make light of anyone being killed by a train is offensive but to make it sound like GO’s new policies are responsible are crazy. If he read the article that he points to, he would see that the person may not even have been struck by the GO train – it could have been a freight train. Also, how can customer service improvements make accidents with outside influences disappear?

      Fuimus

    • Robert,

      “almost the most offensive thing” you’ve ever read?

      Really?

      Wow, you must have a thin skin Mr. Bruce to be offended by that.

      Re-read my post again and you will see I wasn’t making light of anything. The tragedy of someone losing their life is not anything to make light of.

      I was simply drawing a comparison between what GO says and what GO does.

      GO isn’t phasing in only “customer service improvements”. One of their points had to do with safety. I assume that the person that was struck was a GO customer regardless of how they died the event brings into scrutiny the safety parameters GO has in place.

      Apparently the entire week trains have been late, so they failed on that one too.

      It’s another example how companies rush to make promises, which is one thing, but quickly find a very different one to follow through and deliver.

      Reminds me of that Seinfeld episode where Jerry is trying to rent a car after making a reservation. The attendant informs him there is no car available and Jerry is perplexed. The attendant makes the assertion that she knows perfectly well what reservations are, to which he replies “I don’t think you do, because if you did I’d have a car. You know how to take the reservations, you just don’t know how to hold the reservations”

      I hope that there is some feedback from GO riders as to their experiences this week and next, to see if they have noticed any sense of change.

    • Anonymous said

      Chris.

      You are absolutely correct. RTB notwithstanding.
      As someone who takes the train I challenge GO to tell me how safety and the customer experience are not compromised with the sardine like conditions southbound at Rutherford.
      Heaven help anyone claustrophobic if heaven forbid the train is involved in an accident. Stuck for over two hours jammed in like sardines not able to move or get out of the train.Heaven forbid a medical emergency happens and medics have to get to someone in the upper part of the train. How they would reach a person in distress is certainly going to be a challenge. All we have here is empty promises years away from resolution.

    • GOing Nowhere Fast said

      The most offensive thing about the whole issue is the fact that GO cannot look beyond their proverbial Front Street office doorstep , why in a county that actually produces some of the best high speed rapid transit equipment in the world are they not using this same equipment on our own soil, No, G0 would much rather invest millions in useless parking garages and lumbering 150 year old technology diesel locomotives that continue to belch soot and trundle their way across level crossings, If Go got it , they would demonstrate their leadership in customer service, safety , comfort and efficiency by scrapping the diesels , elevate the rails in the existing corridors and run Canadian built light rail rapid transit , Who would drive to the city if you could jump on a train and get there in 20 minutes or less, We have the Technology! and quite obviously the $$
      What a pathetic excuse of a transit system, all in a county that procuces some of the best equipment in the world yet fails to allow their own citizens to utilize it “GO” figure

    • Robert the Bruce said

      Mr Watts…

      I don’t have a thin skin, but in light of your increasingly vulgar and mean-spirited posts, this put it over the top.

      I think the bulk of your blog posts are poking fun – be it the spelling of a councillor’s name or an ironic situation with a rail accident. In my personal life, I can be very sarcastic, every once in a while it gets to be too much.

      In addition to your witty blog and being an expert councillor/mayor you are now an experienced rail accident investigator?

      I don’t know how you can “Assume” the dead person was a GO customer – rail lines are not sealed off. I grew up in a railway town and used to walk along rail lines all of the time. I was not a customer. It can be a dangerous place.

      As far as safety is concerned, GO is in a position that makes it difficult. Some safety issues are not in their control. For example, when a Town like Aurora goes though a process to eliminate train horn soundings, a safety feature of GO is taken away. Who is responsible for a person getting hit by a train when the train is not allowed to sound a warning horn? GO shares their lines with other railways, who is responsible for line safety when the line is owned by CN or CP?

      I think being critical of GO is fine – I am certainly not 100% in agreement with their service, but to draw a line between a death within 24 hours of announcing new policies is unfair and unrealistic. Your blog entry smacks of National Enquirer type of reporting. I guess you look for instrant gratification, I can tell you will be disappointed a lot with that outlook.

      As far as “Going NoWhere Fast”‘s post, if you want that sort of commuting line, you should move to Europe. The day of fast electric powered rail in this country is a long way off. Where do you expect the electricity to come from? In the peak of summer heat we are asked to cut back on A/C because we don’t have enough power. Are you willing to pay for increased taxes to elevate the GO lines? What about the people that need to go somewhere that GO can’t get them to? Should they pay increased taxes for it? Maybe the GO customers should pay 200% increase in fares to fund that sort of infrastructure. We may have the technology but we certainly don’t have the $$. I hazard a guess that your tree-hugging Berkonstock-wearing friends don’t have the $$ either.

      So, be critical of GO. Be critical of their schedule, be critical of their equipment. But understand what you are talking about before you judge how someone was killed.

      Fuimus

    • GOing Nowhere Fast said

      Wow RTB Speaking of experienced Rail Accident investigators I happen to be an expert Pickle Inspector and forgive me for touching on vulgarity but I dare say,I believe you have a large Gerkin caught sideways , My advice would be to grab a copy of the National Enquirer head for the throne and see if you can’t pass it!!!!

    • re: GOing Nowhere Fast

      ROFLMAO!

      Let’s hope “Fumius” does the same.

    • Robert the Bruce said

      FUIMUS

  6. Anonymous said

    Speaking of Christopher Watts, whose blog I enjoy immensely I might add, does anyone know if he sent PM his “Not the Mayor” jacket that he wore at the hoedown?

  7. Winters Comin' said

    Dear Matt … you are right, a well meaning blog is worthwhile participating in. IMO (in my opinion), one that is informative and opinion welcoming. It would be nice, though, if low blows were reserved for green box collections. That being said, for WG, she’s obliviously thinking through the blog idea, its new to her. Come on … cut her some slack. It’s a new regime and 4300+ town’s folk certificated her to represent them at the table. For our esteemed Mayor (outgoing), PM, I don’t follow your line of thinking: you slammed EB with an integrity commissioner recommendation (cease and desist your blog), you launched civil action to shut down Aurora’s citizenry, and now before leaving office, you are considering the need for a personal blog? (I am so confused. Helen Power show me the way!!) PM, I look forward to your critiques on town issues!! … wc

  8. Anonymice said

    Good afternoon.

    My name is Phineas and I have been delegated as the spokesman for my very large and distinguished family. We literally cover the world.

    Being rather small, we manage to overhear many conversations that are assumed to occur in confidence. Equally, we manage to see many acts; those who are involved would rather they not have been seen.

    In other words, we know where all the dirt is and who is responsible for it.

    We could blackmail many people in many lands. We could tarnish many more people in Aurora than those who have already been ‘outed.’

    But that is not the purpose of my visit today.

    To the new councillors just elected, you have a responsibility to your community to demonstrate that you are capable of constructive participation in municipal affairs. No matter that for some of you your past record is not distinguished. Lose the past and work for the future.

    To the councillors re-elected, you have been given another opportunity to work on behalf of your community and all its residents; don’t blow it!

    To Wendy Gaertner the only thing I can suggest is get yourself another hair-style. It is quite possible that the inner you is somehow being held captive, a prisoner of a dour visage. Get a bob and learn to smile. You might find you like it. Enough with the sour thoughts!

    To the CAO, the Clerk, the Solicitor, and that foolish communications chap, you will all be working with a new administration. From the sound of Geoff Dawe’s campaign, he already has a pretty good idea about getting along with people. Forget the way things were done in the past, through confrontation and back-stabbing and meetings behind closed doors. You now have the opportunity to show the good things you are capable of, something that was hiding the past few years.

    To the mayor-elect: you ran a tremendous campaign, said and promised all the right things. Now you have to work with a new team of people to implement as many of those promises are are reasonable. And if your team, both elected and hired, can function so that the people can see what is happening rather than having to refer to speculation, the aura will then truly shine on Aurora.

    To those who blog, those who don’t, those who hope to, a word of caution. There will always be one or two nasties out there with legal hired guns just waiting to pounce on the slightest critical comment. If you can say it to your ten-year old you can probably print it.

    Happy blogging.

  9. Anonymous said

    Hey Anonymoose…

    True dat!

  10. Luckywife said

    Cllr. Wendy Gaertner. Am I the only one trying to figure out how this woman ever got elected once, let alone three times?? I wonder what it is that 4343 people see that I don’t. What am I missing?

    Seven years she’s had to learn. Why is it that every council meeting I watch, I could swear that it was her first month on the job? I know these past four years have been an aberration and that the procedural by-laws have been twisted, stomped on, overidden, and ignored, but if Wendy Gaertner has ever even read the cover page, I’d be shocked.

    Now she’s given notice that she’s not going to remain silent when she’s criticized. I have no problem with that but, what is she going to do? Write Letters to the Editor? Start a blog? Too bad Wendy, Evelyn Buck already blazed that trail.

    How about you and your friends, Evelina MacEachern, Al Wilson, Stephen Granger, Chris Ballard and Guy Poppe start a grassroots movement to ban blogging? If Phyllis Morris can bring clotheslines to the world, surely you can make Aurora a blog free community. Just don’t let Phyllis on your committee, she might start her own blog, and you don’t need any more hypocrites on your team.

    Better yet, why don’t you just focus on your job? Ignore the hell out of Evelyn Buck. Start thinking for yourself and by your self. Spend the next four years learning to be the councillor that the 4343 people that voted for you deserve. I don’t think you can do it, but I hope like hell you prove me wrong.

    Lord help us if Sher St. Kitts decides Wendy needs a new best friend. We all know how desperately she wants to be a councillor, even if only by proxy. No need to do any thinking when Sher comes to town. She’s got it all covered.

    Luckywife

    • Broderick Epps said

      Rest assured Luckywife, you are not alone in wondering how Wendy G. got re-elected.Her lack of understanding coupled with her inability to formulate intelligle questions makes her re-election surprising.For a town that supposedly prides itself as having the New York times comment as to it being chic with lots of character, electing a WG seems contradictory.

    • Anonymous said

      Beats me why anyone would vote for WG and as for “not remaining silent”, where the hell has she been for the last 4 years other than “baaaaing” along spewing out the Mormac party line when she should have been engaged in discussion and debate? It will be interesting to see if she even has the capability to think for herself, let alone speak up for herself!
      I also hope Gallo finds an independent voice – or any voice at all for that matter – and actually starts to show that he is awake and paying attention.
      These two need desperately to do something different this term.
      As for WG “… deciding what can and can’t be allowed in the new social media”, get off it, Wendy, it is not your job to try to control us.

    • veritas said

      I do not believe that it falls under councillors’ roles and responsibilities to dictate what blogging activities people can or cannot engage in. Just let them try again in this town and see what happens!

    • Anonymous said

      I read Wendy’s letter in this week’s Aurora and I must say I have a really difficult time believing that she penned the letter herself. I dounbt that her mind would ever be so coherent given that she never seems to understand anything. I wonder who her ghost writer might be? Hmmmmmmmm I can think of at least one possibility….

  11. Mr. Spock said

    “Christopher Watts’ “Temporary Sanity” blog sets the bar high for intelligent social commentary and insight, while mixing it with biting humour and smart graphics.”

    Yeah, sure…a regular Oscar Wilde for our generation…

    • Thanks for the compliment oh spikey eared one, you have so many unenlightened things to add to this blog, and the community as a whole, one wonders why you don’t just concede to getting shot out into space in a coffin as a farewell as you did onscreen. It would serve your reputation well

    • Anonymous said

      “There is only one thing worse than being talked about, and that is not being talked about”…. Christopher “Oscar Wilde” Watts.

  12. Funny, how those who are entering the blogging world now, are so sure of themselves, and think they know everything. Good read as always.

    Anna

  13. fed up said

    talk about out of touch–she just doesn’t get it

  14. Anonymoose said

    “Christopher Watts’ “Temporary Sanity” blog sets the bar high for intelligent social commentary and insight”

    ROFLMAO

    Thanks, I needed a good laugh today. Watch your step. Don’t trip on that bar. LOL

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