The blue Facebook symbol has fallen, and is lying on a blue background

Why Cortes Island does not need Facebook

While there are Facebook groups on Cortes Island, they have largely been  marginalized by a wiki style community bulletin board. The Tideline is not a place for personal webpages or a typical news website, but for the past 20 years most of island’s population have used it to post notices, community announcements, reports and advertisements.

Someone suggested that this may be a model for the rest of the country to emulate, now that Facebook has barred Canadian news outlets from using its pages. 

This prompted me to ask a few people at Lovefest for their opinion. 

Crowd scene from Lovefest 2023 – Roy L Hales photo

Only one expressed a preference for Facebook. 

Most respondents prefer the Tideline, often in conjunction with other sources, for local news. 

Asked if he uses the Tideline, Hugh Barton replied, “I do, not as much as Facebook though.” 

CC: Where do you go for your local news? 

Hugh Barton: “I listen to CBC a lot, plus 89.5 FM, 102.9 FM  and then some of the island stations. That’s where I get most of my news.”

He was referring to Vancouver Island stations. Barton also mentioned two more local radio stations. 102.9FM offers music with weather updates. 89.5 FM has two news programs: Cortes Currents and CKTZ News.

Shiva stated, “The Tideline is very, very valuable. I think there’s a lot of very informative stuff and the option of not having comments  removes a lot of the drama that Facebook has.”

Sandy Hoffman added, “I look at the Tideline quite often, definitely for local things, not necessarily for things all across BC or across Canada. It’s definitely a great news source.” 

CC: Do you use any other sources? 

“Yes, I also go to the CTV and CBC and although Facebook bans all of the links, the way to work around it is do screenshots of the news story or put a number before the link, and then it doesn’t get blocked. We need to work around it if Facebook is being silly and not willing to pay the journalists what they should be paying.” 

Soma Feldmar went further than that, “I’m not much of a user of Facebook. I find the Tideline valuable. I find it a little hard to navigate if I’m searching for something specific. Otherwise,  I do count on the Tideline for  finding out what goes on on the island.’ 

She also recommend that people use the radio: “It’s a way to access Cortes from everywhere, your website as well.”

David Rousseau does not use Facebook, “I don’t get my news through social media. I don’t do anything on social media.”

“The Tideline is really important, but so is the circle of information that flows in the community which is sometimes called gossip. That’s also important. That’s our own little private Tideline.”

“I get news through the internet and some print materials. I think this might be an opportunity for Canadians to rehabilitate some of our news networks and put them back in shape because  this is now the way to get that information out to get Canadian news out now that the social media organizations are no longer carrying it.”

Jason Thompson checks the Tideline on a daily basis. 

“We checked the Tideline pretty much every day for a year before we even moved here, just to keep up on info and everything. We didn’t know about all the Facebook pages.” 

CC: Where did you come from? 

Jason: “Drayton Valley, Alberta. I looked up everything ‘Cortes Island’ and the Tideline popped right up. We’ve been watching that ever since, I use it to check the tides and everything, too.” 

CC: What else? 

“Anything for sale, any kind of events coming up, sponsors,  and we put our podcast episodes up on there all the time.” 

Jason and his wife, Bobbie-Gene Hanson, host the ‘We Can’t Pick a Title Podcast’ on YouTube every week. 

Gabriel Dinim appreciates the Tidelines role in building community. 

“I’ve lived in several small communities. I lived for 30 years in the Kootenays, on the mountainside. Small communities, a little smaller than Cortes.  If we had had a Tideline, it would have made a huge difference in the life of everybody there. I am in awe of Ester and what she does. I think it’s an exceptional service to the community.”

“And even if she doesn’t do CBC or things like that, we have local news.  Democracy and self knowledge start locally anyway. I think it’s outstanding. I wish every small community had an Ester and a Tideline.” 

“As far as Facebook/Meta not publishing news anymore, I think that’s outstanding.  It forces people to go back to the source of news. Instead of scanning somebody else’s headline, they can open the page on the paper or on the internet and see the whole range of headlines and choose what they want instead of what somebody feeds them.” 

Disclosure: For the past two years, Cortes Currents has been posting a weekly list of articles found under the Cortes tab, on Tideline. I was also posting links on two Facebook pages, Cortes Radio and Cortes Currents, prior to being barred as a Canadian news outlet. About 10% of my monthly traffic came through social media. 

Top image credit: Collapse of the blue Facebook symbol – Photo by Roman Martyniuk on Unsplash

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