Should government use Twitter? Rogers-owned Maclean’s says no.

Should government use Twitter? Rogers-owned Maclean’s says no.

Maclean's coverAs iPhone in Canada’s blog discovered, a recent article from Maclean’s, criticized the government for announcing its concerns with the CRTC’s (Canadian Radio-Television Commission) decision on usage based billing via Twitter, a topic that quickly exploded across the web by the use of social media.

Maclean’s article titled “The Internet should be fair—not free—to everyone”, highlights the pros of usage based billing and points out that “Access to the Internet is thus like most other things in life: it has a real cost, and if you want more you should expect to pay more”, and dispraises the conservative government for using social media as a form of communicating with the Canadian public. Here’s what Maclean’s says:

As a result of wild online outcries from the heaviest users and their  Internet service providers, Prime Minister Stephen Harper quickly sent  out a tweet that he was unhappy with the CRTC’s decision. Industry  Minister Tony Clement followed up with his own Twitter posting that the  agency would be forced to drop its existing policy and “go back to [the]  drawing board.

Such a casual approach to important public policy is an embarrassment to the government. It’s also another example of how the Harper government occasionally allows populism to interfere with sound decision-making. In much the same way the Conservatives seem convinced our country is besieged by criminals, they are now encouraging the popular delusion that usage-based billing will condemn Canada to backwater Internet status. Rather, we have one of the fastest and most modern Internet networks in the world.

So Maclean’s thinks Twitter is too casual? I was absolutely thrilled to see campaigns such Stopthemeter.ca use social media to bring change to legislation that Canadians clearly didn’t want. And since a lot of the conversation about usage based billing was happening on Twitter, I thought it was apropos of Canada’s Prime Minister Stephen Harper to have sent out a tweet about it.

We should note that the only parties benefiting from the UBB (usage based billing) were the major ISP’s (Rogers, Bell, Shaw) who had already began to nail customers with overages. Maclean’s is owned by Rogers.

Hey, these might be the personal opinions of the Maclean’s editors, but how could we take them seriously on this issue considering the fact that they’re owned by one of the major ISP’s in Canada? What are your thoughts, should the government continue reach out using Twitter?

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