I think you may have misunderstood what Sterling was suggesting. This discussion is about the use of social media — open forums for collaboration. I believe Sterling is suggesting that we should encourage people to address complaints via email and/or phone because they can receive faster, more personalized attention; whereas in an online public forum, it can be difficult to identify and address the specific concerns of an individual. Now if you identify a problem & solution that may impact other people, then that would certainly be beneficial to distribute via social media tools.
As to disregarding complaints, I believe that was in reference to the generalized statements that people sometimes make. If someone posts a message on a forum saying, “The Department of Labor sucks”, it’s an opinion that may or may not be backed up by a complaint. Personally, I would hope that public servants being paid for by my tax dollars aren’t spending time trying to find out why people are exercising their right to free speech; they should be focusing on helping people who have specific complaints and problems requiring assistance.
One final comment: I’ve read many of Sterling’s posts on GovLoop and I believe you do him a grave disservice by implying that he is a poor public servant. He is always looking for new and innovative ways to provide more and better service to his customers, and does his best to help others do the same.