Social media a fad - Shadbolt

Invercargill Mayor Tim Shadbolt.
Invercargill Mayor Tim Shadbolt.

Invercargill mayor Tim Shadbolt, who is known for being a little bit reluctant to use new technology, has gone on the record saying social media might be a "fad".

Shadbolt was at a Venture Southland joint committee meeting, and was the only one to vote against spending $50,000 on a social media strategy and website development.

Social media might just be a fad "like the hula hoop", he said.

"I hated the idea of Facebook but my partner said I had to or I wouldn't have any friends. She put me on Facebook and within 24 hours I had 5000 friends, and I didn't know who any of them were," he said.

He had no idea what these people were like, and for all he knew they could be dangerous people, he said.

Southland District Mayor Frana Cardno said he could delete friends, but Shadbolt said there was a 5000 friend limit, and when people were deleted it made room for more to get on board.

When asked if he used Skype to talk to his family or sent text messages on his phone, Shadbolt said he did not use Skype, had had his phone for years and did not know how to use it properly, and could not text as his fingers were too big.

Shadbolt said he knew it had been a long time since the invention of the printing press, and technology was moving even faster now.

"Maybe there is something else just around the corner. It will be interesting to see how long it lasts before the negative impact," he said.

"It could end up being more trouble than it is worth at the end of the day."

Robin Campbell, Venture's acting chief executive, said while technology would change what happened next would be an evolution of what we had now, not a replacement.

Sarah Hannan made a presentation to the committee outlining her research and a proposed online strategy for Venture Southland.

The key was not waiting for people to come to the Venture website, but to go out to them via social media, online advertising, and interactive sites, she said.

The Southland Times