Council’s social media guide warns councillors not to be sarcastic online

New social media guidelines are warning Lichfield and Burntwood councillors not to use sarcasm online.

The new Lichfield District Council protocols will be discussed at a meeting of the local authority next week.

The document outlines the benefits of councillors engaging in social media.

“A revolution is taking place in how we communicate,” the guide says. “The world is experiencing the biggest ever change in how information is created and owned, as well as the speed in which it can be shared.

“We live in an open, accessible and dynamic communications world. The use of social media will help ensure your voice is heard.”

But the report also warns councillors of the pitfalls of engaging with people via social media.

“Avoid being ironic or sarcastic, it can be misinterpreted,” the council’s social media guide warns.

“On Facebook you will need to monitor and, if necessary, censor the contributions that other people make to your site.

“It is up to you to decide if you want to remove posts that disagree with your political position, however if you do remove them you may be accused of censoring contributions on political grounds.

“Tweeting on meeting progress and receiving comments from the community can be helpful for transparency and engagement – but excessive use of Twitter may give people the impression you are not concentrating on the business in hand or are even relying on guidance from outside the meeting.”

Founder of LichfieldLive and editor of the site.


  1. Steve Norman

    26th September, 2015 at 9:45 pm

    I never found my sarcasm misunderstood in the council chamber. When you get a Tory Cabinet member voting for and against the bedroom tax legislation or complaining about government cuts in funding to the council but helping to elect Fabricant who they know will support these cuts positively requires sarcasm.

  2. grumpy joe

    1st October, 2015 at 8:01 am

    I think that the electorate have every right to be cynical – not sarcastic. We learn this week that Councillor Humphreys is unable to fulfil his duties to Hammerwich despite putting himself forward for the role; the Director of Finance does not know how much Friarsgate is going to cost the Council; and the Council Leader is not telling the electorate about the benefits and disadvantages of the proposed Combined Authority. Is this what it is like to reside where one party has a massive majority and feels able to impose its whims without a thought for the needs of the community it represents?

  3. theaardvark

    1st October, 2015 at 9:11 am

    Very well done at shoe-horning your completely irrelevant hobby horse in there Joe by picking one of the words in the article and using it in your comment. It must be hard to find an appropriate place to air your strongly held views if you’re having to resort to such tactics.

    Can I also suggest the comments section of unrelated music videos on YouTube? That seems to be an equally valid place to proselytize.

  4. grumpy joe

    2nd October, 2015 at 2:06 pm

    so Aardvark, you are happy with the way that Lichfield is being run at the moment? You are happy with the quality of the communication from the Council to the electorate on important issues for the District? Good for you, I’m happy for you.