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Thursday, February 25, 2016

SOCIAL: What's not to Like? Why Facebook's new reactions are fitting for utilities like ours in social media.

As a public utility on social media, we welcome the new reaction options Facebook offers. 

Could we see a lot more Angry reactions to rate stories? or Sad reactions to construction impacts in your community? Perhaps, but if those are honest reactions, then we want our social dialogues to be both honest and constructive.

We offer the following perspective on each of the new FB reactions and what they could mean for us and you who engage with us here.

Like. As a follower of ours, generally speaking, we assume you have liked a fair amount of our content, hence your choice to stick with us. For that, we are grateful, and we do hope that continues. We'll keep working to give you educational, engaging, and entertaining content.

Love. We have plenty of good news to share, such as water-quality projects that protect our environment, the potential for new cost-saving programs, or feel-good stories of employees in our communities. The Love reaction is one we hope shows we are making you smile.

Haha. Let us be honest for a sec. Poop jokes are a way of life for us. We embrace tasteful wastewater humor because it's relatable. It makes the connection between your life—more specifically, a utility you use every day—and the complicated work it takes turning sewage into safe clean water. Is entertainment our educational hook? Many times, yes, so we do hope to keep you laughing and learning.
Wow. More than 300 feet under where you sit or stand right now, there may be a tunnel being constructed that will prevent tens of millions of gallons of pollution from reaching the environment. Every day, 200+ million gallons of sewage will be treated and recycled into safe clean Lake Erie water. Those realities, and the work of 600+ men and women who are protecting citizens from countless diseases and illness every single day, deserve a Wow once in a while.

Sad. While we don't emphasize painful experiences often, we understand that safe and reliable water and sewer services can be taken for granted. Events like World Water Day explore sanitation challenges across the globe, and more locally, situations like Toledo, Ohio and Flint, Michigan are sad statements about water quality and the work that must be done to protect it.

Those are stories we will continue to share, even if sadness is an immediate reaction, and understandably so.

Angry. As a utility, we see a fair amount of anger from customers regarding rates, billing, construction and service disruptions, and some posts inspire such a gut reaction. We understand, and we continue striving to minimize such impacts on your daily life.

We are in the midst of a rate study now, and when we talk rates and host public meetings, it can be an emotional discussion. What we hope to avoid is anger due to distrust, misinformation, or a lack of transparency. Those are areas in which we will embrace platforms like social media and public meetings, to ensure customers understand their rates, our work, your communities, and how they are all critical to the region's future.

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