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Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Socially Networked Detroit: Another way Janice Daniels doesn't get it

by Bonnie Caprara

Forgive me for getting inappropriately political on my professional website, but there’s a professional point I want to make.

As a former journalist who used to cover the City of Troy, Mich., for The Oakland Press and as in my current capacity as a director of public relations for a marketing firm in which part of my responsibilities include overseeing Facebook accounts for my company and several clients, I really have to get this off my chest … Janice Daniels just doesn’t get this Facebook thing.

No, I’m not talking about“that” Facebook post, the one in which she embarrassed herself and the City of Troy on a national level last December by posting a gay slur, but her Facebook fan (not personal) page: Janice Daniels – Mayor Troy Michigan.

I’m all about companies, government entities and elected officials that Facebook as an open and transparent two-way communication tool. However, I cringe when I institutions and people use it as a one-way propaganda vehicle.

Normally, Facebook allows users to leave a comment on somebody’s page, but on Janice’s page, she has disabled that function. Likewise, public pages have contact information on their “About” page, but if you go Janice’s “About” page, the only contact information she provides is:

• A link to her Twitter account, which actually links to her website. (Her actual Twitter account is @JaniceTroyMayor. I hope that the misdirected link was an unintentional error.)

• A link to her website where the contact page only incudes: two phone numbers — a City of Troy voice mail number (248-524-3500, option one (1)) and a phone number with a two-minute recorded message with no voice mail — and two U.S. Mail addresses — the Troy City Hall address (505 W. Big Beaver Road, Troy, MI 48084) and a P.O. Box address (P.O. Box 4643, Troy, MI 48099). There is no email address.

Janice Daniels, mayor of The City of Tomorrow, Today? Am I in a time warp? I haven’t sent anyone a letter via snail mail in at least a 15 years.

Not only does Janice make it impossible for people to reach her, but she has clearly stated “rules” for “discussion” on her Facebook page:

This facebook page is not a forum for debate or defense of the issues that are chosen to be promoted on it. If anyone wants to discuss issues with me I have Meet the Mayor office hours from 2pm to 3pm every Monday that a regularly scheduled council meeting is held and the following Tuesday evening from 6pm to 7pm. These office hours are a part of the complimentary outreach that I make to the community because I love this city and all of the people who live, work and play here. Anyone who knows me knows that to be true. – Posted Aug. 2, 2012

So if I wanted to discuss something she posted on Facebook with her that I’m supposed to take time out during my work day or dinner hour? Also, this highly disappoints me from a elected official who had often talked about governmental transparency during her campaign and her many public comments before previous city councils.

In case you were curious about the “issues that are chosen to be promoted on” her Facebook page, between Aug. 1-14 …

• Aug. 2: Her post stating her Facebook page rules for comments and discussion. (See above.)

• Aug. 5: An inspirational quote by Norman Vincent Peale.

• Aug. 5: A post with a link promoting Classic Auto Showplace.

• Aug. 6: A patriotic “poem” about America written by a woman during World War II.

• Aug. 6: A post lauding “some great people representing the Troy Community Lions Club” that she met at the Troy Classic Car Show.

• Aug. 7: “The core unit which determines the strength of any society is the family; therefore, the government should foster and protect its integrity” …

• Aug. 9: A long-winded defense of her friends, Sterling Heights Councilman Paul Smith and his wife, Moira.(Paul Smith has recently asked Smith to resign following the discovery of him carrying signs at a Tea Party rally three years ago of a photo of a simulated hanging of former Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm and a simulated picture of President Barack Obama with his decapitated head on a spear.)

• Aug. 12: A free people should be governed by law and not by the whims of men …

As a Facebook reader, but not a resident or registered voter of the City of Troy, I think it was appropriate of her to pass along kudos to the folks she met from the Lions Club, the car show, and a local business. However, I’m a little bothered by an elected official of a non-partisan seat espousing strongly conservative opinions of what the United States of America and her
principles of what democracy in this country are all about. But to heap praise on another elected official who’s in the middle of a PR crisis? Some would call that political suicide for an elected official whether or not he or she was facing a recall election.

Now that is something I think would make for an interesting discussion on Facebook. As much as I want to “debate” her and post a link to of this post on her page, I still think it’s unreasonable to send it via snail mail or carve out time out of my busy schedule to talk to her in person on her own turf (see video below at 1:11).

(See video on Bonnie's website here.


  1. It is so obvious what she is up to. If you look on her facebook page you will find a link to a story about Szerlag in Florida. The story does not shine a very good light on Szerlag and I am sure she is jumping for joy to have found this dirt.

    It seems she is just trying to throw back the mud in the other direction with her facebook page. At least in this forum I do find some open discussion from both sides, something Daniels would never allow on her page.

  2. I think we should all be glad Janice is so inept with social media. Far fewer of her constituents would know what a truly miserable creature she is, how small-minded, self-serving and simplistic her views are without her exposing herself day after day, week after week. So hooray for facebook. Hope she starts using twitter as soon as possible.

    Example: This latest bio flap, another unforced error on her part. Man, is this the most self-destructive politician ever? She simply cannot seem to stop fanning the flames. Incredible.

    She's the gift that keeps on giving, unfortunately for Troy.

    1. As far as I'm concerned, she can keep fanning those flames until November.

  3. Here is my question to her and her response regarding her FB page:

    "I have "Liked" your FaceBook page and am not allowed to post comments. Could you explain why I never had a chance to. I understand you do not want to have debates on your page, but I don't understand why some are allowed to post and others are not.

    Thank you in advance for your response."

    "Dear Ms. Kajma:

    I can't imagine why you might not be able to post on my FB page. I will have to look into it.

    Thank you for your kind response.

    Honorable Mayor Janice L. Daniels"

    I guess she is still looking!