Letter – social media toxic for local businesses

Having read yet another social media post criticizing a local business I can no longer keep quiet.
As a lifetime Waiuku resident and former business owner, I’ve been increasingly disturbed (and sometimes upset) to read public complaints and criticism about people and businesses serving our town, running a business is hard enough without being undermined – and each and every business (past and present) makes Waiuku what it is today.
Please if you aren’t happy with your experience/service/product or purchase from any of our local business don’t plaster it all over social media ,go and speak to the business concerned face to face so that they have a chance to rectify any mistakes and complaints can be dealt with openly and fairly.
Social media has the potential to support an open caring community however, used indiscriminately, it can also become a very toxic environment for cowardly knockers and whingers to voice their complaints and opinions. Opinions -ok. Public badmouthing, not ok.
At the end of the day our experiences and opinions are just that – ours only and it’s great to share the positive but more constructive to deal with and issues directly between the parties concerned
Let’s carry on supporting our local businesses so that future generations can enjoy Waiuku as the friendly vibrant town it has always been.
F Macdonald

Editors Note: Unfortunately, social media has provided a platform to allow everyone to access information at their fingertips, and yet assumptions are so readily made without fact checking with the source first. It is more than just a case of 'keyboard warriors' as they are commonly known as. There has been an act specifically introduced for cases like the above, which came into effect in July 2015.  Did you know that it is now illegal to send messages and post material online that deliberately causes a victim serious emotional distress? The Harmful Digital Communications Act protects your rights in response to online bullying, harassment and other harmful digital communications. It seems that those on social media should seriously take a look the Act before posting some of their comments online, or as Fiona suggests, take it up with the business directly. This gives them the opportunity to fix the issue, rather than attending a slandering match online. More information on the Act can be found on www.justice.govt.nz
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