Hey, there! Log in / Register

Herald hacks have Facebook accounts; what are they using them for?

Wedge and Heslam
Hacks yuk it up on Facebook.

With nothing else happening at City Hall this week, the Herald sics reporters Dave Wedge and Jessica Heslam on city staffers who post on Facebook and Twitter during work hours.

Oh, God, the horror! Why, it takes sheer seconds to post something to Facebook or Twitter. And never mind city-council aides work nights and weekends or that the Herald's poster girl, Amy Derjue, was hired in part because of her social-networking skills. You know, to reach people who don't read newspapers.

But, look: Heslam has her own Facebook account. So does hubby Wedge. What are they using them for? Unlike Derjue, they keep their Facebook activity secret. What are they hiding?

Ooh, insinuation is fun!

Topics: 
Free tagging: 
Ad:

Comments

How about people who do? I live in Ross' district and have never seen a single communication from the Communications Director (except when she responded to my post on UH criticizing the decision to hire her when the city was struggling to keep teachers on the payroll - and still is). Maybe I should stop reading newspapers and read more about Amy's napping habits and opinions on uterus illustrations? I said it when she was hired - why does the city council need a communications director? They do very little of any import and when they do something important it's in the newspapers.

Oh - that's right, they have to reach out to people who don't read newspapers (and probably don't vote either - and if they do are probably grossly uninformed because they are too busy watching Jon and Kate to be bothered with anything like education, crime, development, taxes, budgets etc.).

up
Voting closed 0

Does the city council president need a communications director (and a chief of staff)? Should a city worker be slammed for having an open Facebook page?

They're not necessarily related, unless you think that part of the reason he doesn't need a fulltime PR person is because she's spending all her time on Facebook, which I'd argue she isn't. She's blowing off steam or sending a quick note to friends, neither of which takes very much time. I'd be a lot more concerned about, oh, BRA staffers sending out notes about how much they hate Brighton residents, but the Herald didn't cover that story, did they?

up
Voting closed 0

It's also an issue of what you do with FB during the day. Is it a quick status update or are they playing farm games all day?

And while you can update your FB status from any smart phone these days - is it really wise to set your status to say that you're going to a city meeting so you can sleep? Is that what constituents really want to head form a communications director?

up
Voting closed 0

Should a city worker be slammed for having an open Facebook page?

I think that's actually the interesting story here - as you noted, one of the reporters is "friends" with at least one of the subjects; I'd assume many people working in visible positions like this would have reporters among their friends, because most reporters are going to be using social media as a communication tool as well. The question really is where and how the lines between personal and professional should fall - can you use something like Facebook for all these different aspects of your life? For some lines of work, it's probably necessary, just not possible. But then you need to consider how you're using it, how privacy settings should be used, etc. I'm not even proposing an answer along the lines of "don't let anyone except actual friends and family see your status updates and photos," because I can well imagine that additional personal openness can be desirable in some situations, if the point is to have an image of being open and accessible.

The time-wasting angle of this story is just stupid. Someone (and someone who would need to be on Facebook during the day to fulfill job duties, at that) took 10 seconds to complain about the office being cold? Horrors! Some of the other examples were more damning, but the fact that they even thought that was worthy of inclusion in the story seems to actually weaken the argument - there can't have been much really problematic. Facebook, for me anyway, is one of the least dangerous ways to take a break at work because it takes just a couple of minutes to scan latest updates, maybe another minute, tops, to post an update myself if I feel the need, and that's it -- there's far less danger of getting sucked into half an hour of reading than if I were to, say, stop by bostonherald.com. And as I'm Facebook friends with several colleagues working in different physical locations, sometimes that can substitute for the "hi Bob, what's new?" that I get with other colleagues while we're waiting for the elevator together.

up
Voting closed 0

First of all, the average city council staffer works probably 70 hours per week, with morning meetings, night time meetings, and weekend events. So the idea of anyone on the council actually stealing time from taxpayers is beyond preposterous.

A communications director would be in charge of writing speeches, press releases, blog posts, email updates, issue response emails (but probably not on constituency issues), also tracking all facebook and twitter related functions for the office, talking to reporters, making sure whatever issue a reporter might want to talk about the boss is prepared to discuss, and doing research on policy-related matters. It's an exhausting job.

But if the 15 seconds it takes to post on facebook is offensive to the Herald, I might suggest there are some additional changes the city council should implement:

- Bathroom breaks cancelled. I calculate that City council staffers probably spend an average combined total of 13,000 hours per year in the bathroom during work. City taxpayers could save millions if they just held it in.

- Waterbreaks. The 30 second water break is a calamity for taxpayers. Beyond the fact that taxpayers have to pay for the water, and it leads staffers to those bathroom breaks, it takes an average of at least 1.000 hours per year for council staffers to drink water. That could save about $100,000 I'm guestimating.

- Friendly banter. Saying 'hi' in the hallway, any conversation about a red sox game, the weather, the election, war, peace, a good movie, a bad movie, or that morning's Boston Herald needs to be banned immediately. I am sure that those conversations alone cost taxpayers at least $2.4 BILLION. It must be stopped immediately.

- Herald subscriptions. Not a big chunk of change, but they probably should be cancelled, or at least converted into toilet paper (but really, only for emergencies, as we've cancelled bathroom breaks).

The Herald has really made a mockery of themselves today.

up
Voting closed 0

This guy knows his stuff.

I knew several people that worked in the Cambridge city government and they worked for pennies while putting in long hours, even nights and weekends.

Herald needs to take a deep breath on this one and let it go. having a boss who isn't a jackass, or hours and privileges that don't confine you to a cube for a 8 hour period is common now a days, and has even shown to be beneficial to getting more work done.

up
Voting closed 0

Several years ago, Derjue was a founding member of the Boston Blogs Network, which I started in part to sell ads on Boston-related blogs. She gave that up when she got a full-time job (blogging, no less) for Boston magazine. I no longer have my Quicken records from back then, but I think the total amount of money I paid her was roughly enough to buy three, maybe four large pizzas.

up
Voting closed 0

If it takes roughly 20 seconds to compose a Facebook status update, posting three or four of them in one day would constitute little more than a minute of one's time. This is front-page news at the Herald?

As for what Wedge and Heslam are hiding on their own Facebook pages, I'm guessing it's not a Pulitzer.

up
Voting closed 0

"As for what Wedge and Heslam are hiding on their own Facebook pages, I'm guessing it's not a Pulitzer."

up
Voting closed 0

I'm thinking that what they are hiding on their Facebook pages are that Wedge is actually an alien female who gave birth to half-alien Heslam, who is actually a male, and that their Earth-marriage was just a coverup.

Will someone please post images of their Facebook pages so that we can verify or contradict my wild, unsubstantiated guesses?

Oh, and if Wedge and Heslam want to say that city workers were doing something inappropriate on city time, as part of their reporting -- if they were real journalists following standard practices of journalism -- then they need first to obtain any time cards for those employees (to make sure they weren't taking time off on any part of those days in question) and also get copies of their work contracts to determine if they were doing so during one of the breaks in their workday that they may be allowed (or guaranteed) in it.

But that would require Heslam and Wedge -- "Wedglam" -- to do some actual, boots-on-the-groud reporting, rather than just surf on Facebook themselves. While on the job at the Herald.

up
Voting closed 0

Although you can't see her chatter, you can see her main image, as well as look at a list of all her "friends" (same for Wedge). Interestingly, one of Wedge's "friends" is Derjue.

up
Voting closed 0

This is ridiculous. Plenty of people at non-city jobs spend tons of time on Facebook, etc. throughout the day. I have friends who work at high profile places and watch TV shows at their desks when it is slow. If you're not hiding it from your boss and your boss is okay with it, then why is it a story? And honestly, if the communications director seems like a fun, accessible person, isn't that better for Mike Ross in the long run?

up
Voting closed 0

"If you're not hiding it from your boss and your boss is okay with it, then why is it a story?"

Because I am their boss. I pay taxes, so they work for me. I decide what they can or can not do. I don't pay her salary so she can screw off during work. You want to go to the water cooler? Go ahead, but you better not stop to f'ing talk about last nights red sox game on the way there. Thats time and my money being wasted!

Kidding of course. But that is what the Herald is getting at. Im sure policy says they cannot use work computers for personal things.

On the other hand, these people probaby go to meetings and do other things that they don't get paid overtime for. Many of these people work more than the 40 hours a week they get paid for. Because of that, I dont mind city workers goofing off during the day as long as they are doing a good job and working their asses off otherwise.

Id rather have a smart, hard working person goofing off 5 hours a week and working 70, than someone that puts in the min 40 hours a week and not goofing off at all.

up
Voting closed 0

And breaks. People do get them. People do use them to post pictures. Heck, you can actually do this without using employer resources! I take blackberry pics and post them all the time!

up
Voting closed 0

Sorry Pete, but that line of thinking is BS.

You vote on representatives that become their bosses, but you don't employ them, and you don't pay them directly. You sure as hell can raise a stink, but then again I can call the office and say I love Amy Derjue work and to keep doing a good job. See how that works?

Anyways, I hope I never find myself in an office under your control if that's your opinion on work / life issues. I guess working 70-80 hours a week for a measly 40K as a public servant isn't enough, you need to make sure you work yourself to death if you get any taxpayer money.

up
Voting closed 0

Always interesting to see that every public servant claims to work 70-80 hours a week. Don't get me wrong - including post above - Mike has some great people in his office: Reuben, currently Michelle, her predecessor Karen - even if I don't always agree with them - but if you just read online posts you would think everyone working for the city works 3500-4000 hours a year - I doubt it.

Per Adam's response to my post above, it's not personal - I don't know Amy from a hole in the ground and the random twitter post is not the issue - but we need to make some hard personnel decisions - e.g. - should the city council president have a PR person who happens to have spare time to sleep during meetings (hopefully just joking) or should we keep a rookie teacher in the classroom or a cop on the street?

Your call Councilor.

up
Voting closed 0

Well even if she "only" worked her required 40 hours 40,000 is not all that much money for someone with experience in their field. I would say they could do themselves better by focusing more on the people who make 100,000 plus , I am sure a few of them are on social networks. How about "overpaid" Herald reporters with too much time on their hands?

up
Voting closed 0

Sorry Pete, will keep reading down the paragraph before posting next time.

;p

up
Voting closed 0

I just friend requested them and I think everyone else should too... I wonder how many people the Herald staff people will have to reject as friends today.

I know political staffers, they work all the time. They tend not to take lunch breaks either. I think that many political offices, heck many public and non profit offices for that matter, would grind to a halt if every employee stood up and demanded their lunch time away from their desks. Looking at the messages left by this staffer I do not see many references to "having lunch with the girls" etc

Leave the staffers alone!

up
Voting closed 0

Another feather in Michael Ross's "abuse of power" cap.

Good job Mike, you keep fighting the "good fight" against those college kids in your neighborhood, while abusing your position and overlooking all of the violence going on at the hands of the "neighborhood" residents.

up
Voting closed 0

There are some pretty interesting questions here, but I think the Herald missed the mark on what the story actually is. I agree with an earlier poster that the lines of personal vs. professional,personal vs. political and staffing vs. campaigning can get blurry, especially in the electronic social networking world, and looking at some of those questions could make for an interesting story. Fact is, having relationships in the community is actually an important part of what staffers are hired and paid to do. There could have been so many more interesting angles on this than the "wasting time doing silly stuff" one.

up
Voting closed 0

Self professed Derjue pal David Bernstein over at the Phoenix writes he wishes Derjue wrote more online, adds:

I also think Heslam and Wedge may be overestimating the time it takes to type 140 characters; they say Derjue recently "spent the morning complaining about her chilly City Hall cubicle on Twitter" -- I just checked, and Derjue posted exactly one Twitter update that entire workday. ...

up
Voting closed 0

Well, it isn't "insinuation"; it is very specific facts and examples. Those examples have nothing to do with reaching out to the community for the scam term "social networking." They have to do with reaching out to co-workers and people not interested in government. Your bias in being a parasite on MSM while claiming anything online is inherently great is, once again, untenable and silly.

up
Voting closed 0

That whole article is full of insinuation - such as insinuating that Derjue is a hack who spent an entire morning complaining about the temperature in her office when in fact she posted exactly one tweet. It's been awhile since I took typing in junior high, but even so, it's not going to take me from 9 a.m. to noon to type 140 characters.

The Herald and other MSM outlets can do good work - look at their coverage of the MGH psychiatric attack yesterday; look at the stuff the Globe did on City Hall e-mail. This just is not an example of good work - it's an example of the sort of cheap-shot low-blow crap that the Herald and its disciples over at Channel 25 pull all the time because they don't have enough reporters to actually cover the news that matters (such as Stevil's question above whether the city council president really needs a fulltime communications director).

As for leeching, yeah, I do point to MSM stories all the time. Maybe I should start posting a list of stories MSM reporters got from me - and from other UH posters. It's not a large list, granted, but, yes, there is original reporting here.

up
Voting closed 0

This is not insinuation nor is it a cheap shot - these are specific, documented examples of blatant abuses of taxpayer resources. Read the sidebar - half of corporate America bans FB and these examples of slacking are precisely why.

up
Voting closed 0

Because the story specifically says Derjue spent all morning complaining about the thermostat, and she didn't.

As for corporate bans, the important thing is not that 50% of American companies ban Facebook but that they have some sort of policy. In this case, Derjue's boss's policy was that she could use Facebook as long as she didn't abuse it, and he doesn't seem to think she did.

What the CEO of one of Boston's largest employers thinks about banning Facebook.

up
Voting closed 0

If anyone cares, which I doubt, go visit reporter Dave Wedge's blog at http://davewedge.blogspot.com/, where you will see that most of his entries have been made on weekdays between 9am and 5pm. Maybe if he spent more time reporting....

up
Voting closed 0

You should check out his Myspace which is listed as his website in his blogger profile which has 110 hits by the way. Not so great for a "journalist" I would say.

up
Voting closed 0

and i can't.

because it's blocked.

i work for a state agency that blocks facebook (and youtube, and ebay, and craigslist, and twitter and a host of other sites).

but our overzealous filtering software actually blocks any URL that contains the word "facebook", so i can't even read a newspaper article about it.

it's one way to fix the problem, but it's a little like using a sledgehammer to drive in a nail. it works. but it's senseless overkill.

up
Voting closed 0

Well, you have time during the day to read and post here. Is there a difference? :-)

up
Voting closed 0

... a chunk of UH is blocked, too, because it either links to twitter or has an embedded flickr picture. so i see a very modified and streamlined UH.

i am allowed to use email and the internet for personal use, we have a policy that specifies that. i just think it's interesting that the methods they use to control internet abuse also prohibits me from seeing other useful sites.

last week the home depot website was blocked because they had prohibited media on it.

home depot is a state approved vendor, and one we do business with.

while i don't have business on facebook (and i confess, don't even have a facebook account), sometimes i think the tactics used to keep others from being on it cast a net way too wide, and wind up censoring the internet in unexpected ways.

you would think they would *want* me to read some article about state hacks abusing teh inner-nets. sort of a scared straight tactic ;)

up
Voting closed 0

The Blog Hater herself will discuss the issue, fortunately with, among others, Chuck Tanowitz, who actually understands what blogs and Twitter are.

up
Voting closed 0

Heslam and Wedge work in the Dreaded Private Sector. They're not paid by taxpayer money.

up
Voting closed 0

I subscribe to that rag, therefor I hold the whip. Tell them to get back to work!


Twitter me this!

up
Voting closed 0