Facebook could have held answer to drinking water panic

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As I write, we’re finally enjoying lovely sunshine which has enabled me to start knocking my jungle of a garden into shape.

That’s the great thing about self employment and the internet, we can do our paper work where and when we want.

Jane Binnion

Jane Binnion

I never was at my best as a 9-to-5 girl, to be honest. The good news is that increasingly progressive employers are telling office-based staff they don’t mind where they do their work as long as it gets done by an agreed date.

That flexibility seems to be working out well for all concerned.

Unfortunately the warm spell also co-coincided with the Cryptosporidium bug in the drinking water in parts of Lancashire.

United Utilities was slow to share the information so rumours spread and chaos hit.

People took to social media for clarification only to be told to use the post code checker on the website.

However, it turned out the post code checker was faulty so people who thought they were drinking safe water actually were not.

Lancaster district was not affected, but still shops ran out of bottled water and cafes said they weren’t allowed to give customers tap water.

This all left many people very worried, especially as letters did not arrive at the homes of the affected households until Saturday, 48 hours after the problem was discovered.

The United Utilities social media team did their best with limited information and a lot of very angry customers, but had the company been transparent from the outset, they could have put out a Facebook advert explaining what was safe, what wasn’t and where we could get a regular update.

Most households have someone on Facebook now days and we will all share this kind of information with our friends, neighbours and family.

When it comes to public health it just isn’t acceptable to expect people to go and search for information.

Interestingly, this incident has proven that people really trust their local newspapers for reliable information.

This story has seen a massive rise in people checking the local press websites and social media platforms for accurate updates. Good to know we can rely on someone.

Have a great week and stay safe on-line.