By Ken De Laat, N3 Publisher
Putting out an online news source is always interesting. With folks being as divided as we seem to be these days, posting our stories on social media can lead to the responses taking any number of directions. When we recently reported on the Grant School Board doings it drew the obligatory critiques from those who distrust coverage that might not align with their views. We get it. This is a controversial subject and an emotional issue for many and the response we received bore this out. And yet when it moved about on social media we noticed the comments generally stayed within the subject matter.
Not so with the recent press release we ran from Consumers Energy regarding the dams.
The dams are a hot bed issue and people who may be affected by the possible sale of them are more than likely to be scared and/or angry. And nothing stirs up the nest in fb like anger and fear.
On our site alone, the comments included assertions that dam removal would take out the city of Newaygo (it wouldn’t) that the Feds (no specific department) and/or the state (assuming the Gov herself) are behind the move, that a sale to China is inevitable (wow), and more claims that seem to arise from random, meritless hypotheses.
From there it devolves to further misinformation (more wow), the insipid 1:1 battles with a goal of ‘winning’ the argument or at least being seen as clever (utter fail), and inevitably the usual insults (weak and childish). Then of course at least one thread will make the whole thing about our two geriatric presidential candidates leading to the mutual demonization of the other side.
Our favorite was the person who, supposedly in an effort to help out with the confusion, began their post by calling out everyone who had posted previously as ignorant. And this is just on our page so no telling what might be boiling over in one of the 200+ and counting shares the post received.
And no, this is not another tired and redundant lecture about social media behavior. Railing against the inhumanity the platform can produce is merely another impotent response to the helplessness that coexists with any attempt to alter it.
This is merely a bit of sadness and disappointment in who we seem to be these days.
Who knew we would drift so far apart with the help of a vessel purportedly designed to do the opposite?
"But somehow social media, which was touted as an engine of connectivity, has left us disconnected and often lonely, not to mention combative. We’re all in our corners. We understand one another less than ever and have less desire to try." Maureen Dowd
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