Mayor of Lismore Jenny Dowell. Photo Mireille Merlet-Shaw / The Northern Star
Mayor of Lismore Jenny Dowell. Photo Mireille Merlet-Shaw / The Northern Star Mireille Merlet-Shaw

Lismore's online farewell: Jenny Dowell quits facebook

THE unthinkable happened this morning: hundreds of Lismore resident tuned in to outgoing mayor's Jenny Dowell Facebook page, but were greeted by an error message.

Computer said 'no'.

Former councillor Dowell had gone through with her promise: she de-activated her Facebook page.

So where was she instead today? 

Lismore locals were unable to find Jenny Dowell on Facebook this morning.
Lismore locals were unable to find Jenny Dowell on Facebook this morning. Javier Encalada

Short answer is: Centrelink.

The implications of the end of Jenny Dowell's profile on Facebook for Lismore residents is no minor: From sharing weekend gig guides, responding to neighbours' complaints and gathering ideas, highlighting local's accomplishments and spreading breaking news, Facebook was where Ms Dowell shone as a community leader as much as she did in person.

She was the first local mayor to use Facebook.

Ms Dowell posted a final message last night letting people know her account would be gone by today.

She read each of the more than 200 comments on the post and then deactivated the account at 6am today.

Ms Dowell said she has deactivated her Facebook account but she has kept her Twitter account.

"My Twitter account is still open, my tag is @mayorjd but my profile now read "was mayor of Lismore."

"People didn't really contact me via Twitter about council-related issues or to ask questions, it was really for me to keep us with current affairs and news."

On Facebook, the fomer mayor sais she decided to de-activate the account instead of closing it down.

"I de-activated it rather than closed it, because in the future, in six months or so, I may re-activate it and the refine my friend's list, and use it for a different purpose"

"I also didn't want to use the information log and so many community photos, so now all that is like archived. It was important to keep becasue I was the first Mayor of Lismore to use Facebook."

Click here to read about the time Jenny Dowell's Facebook account was suspended by Facebook for containing 'nudity'

Ms Dowell said the first thing she did on her non-public life was to clean up her house and, and after visiting Council to finalise some details of her retirement, she went to the Lismore Centrelink office to request a Senior's Health card.

"I feel really free without Facebook and I think I'll enjoy this for a while," she said.

Despite being invited to be part of the board of 16 local community organisations, she declined all of them.

"I only have a number of public speaking commitments later this month with organisations that asked me to talk to them about my experience as a councillor, and that's it" she said.

Mayor Smith's online challenge

A Facebook user in his own right, Isaac Smith is clear the way he will use social media in his new role as Mayor of Lismore.

Asked via Facebook if he wanted his online presence to be as important as former mayor's Dowell, he said he will be available on Facebook and Instagram.

"It will be as big as I can muster, but no working person could possibly be everywhere like Jenny. So I relish the challenge and look forward to connecting with so many more locals," he said.

"(I) Love Instagram, so that's a new area people can connect with the mayor. I am getting into Snapchat as well and what ever comes next," he said.