Does anyone remember the good old days before Facebook, Instagram and Twitter? When you had to take a photo of your dinner, then get the film developed, then go around to all your friends’ houses to show them the picture of your dinner? No? Me neither.
Good, bad or indifferent, Facebook and other social media are here and, like weather, you can complain about it, ignore it or just accept the fact that it is so you might as well get on with your life. From a service industry standpoint, we are faced with a bit of a conundrum: Do we wade in and try and answer all questions and concerns or simply stay out as it can become a “no win” situation quite rapidly?
Case in point, we did run across a couple of separate issues a while back – one was about the people that use the family change rooms that other patrons think shouldn’t be allowed to. Actually the term “family change room” is kind of a generic term used in aquatics to describe those small rooms used for perhaps a family or a mom with small children or a senior or someone that requires more privacy for a myriad of reasons than the main change room affords. I can see both sides; in the past, I too have struggled to get one kid dressed only to discover that in that split second you turned your back, your toddler is now showering in the urinal or pumping all the soap out. I also understand that as people get older or have limitations, they perhaps struggle to get dressed and wish to maintain some dignity while doing so.
Hey, we get it and in bringing this particular conversation to staff, we realize we can keep this issue in mind when scheduling programming to perhaps avoid potential dressing room conflicts between kids and seniors. We have also ordered a couple of child protection seats for the main change rooms which, like the baby change tables, bolt to the wall where you can sit little Johnny and throw on the shoulder harness to contain him for four or five minutes while you get his sister taken care of.
Another issue raised recently, which we are well aware of, is the operating hours of certain parts of the facility. Reading through comments, it becomes apparent that being open very early and closing late every day would be the preferred choice; however, there are a lot of factors to be considered including costs, ability to staff and even impact to other businesses. Where we are today was the result of a lot of research, cost projections and discussion amongst staff and directors to provide residents with the best overall value for accessibility. Does it fit everyone? Probably not, but it fits a lot and in saying that, if there is an opportunity or a need to expand or change hours while maintaining fiscal responsibility and other factors, that would be more conversation, research and cost projections that unlikely would be floated on Facebook.
So, at this point, it’s probably safe to say we probably wouldn’t join any conversations that are demeaning any person, place or thing, or are harassing or offensive — we’ve all seen how fast a lynch mob can form within minutes onscreen. While “we” don’t actively monitor social media such as Facebook at this point, we certainly recognize the aspect that it is a powerful medium to communicate with today’s technology; in fact many of our events have been even more successful by people sharing posts.
If you really have a concern, I would suggest using some of the methods currently in place such as comment cards or speaking directly with staff or administration, and leaving information that we can contact you if we need follow-up. With over 160,000 visits per year, we do get comments about hours or accessibility or other items. Some we can remedy and some we can’t, but if it’s within our power and it makes sense, even if we stumble across it on Facebook, we will certainly try to figure it out.
Neil Ostfichuk is the recreation supervisor at the Creston and District Community Complex.