Social media wears me out.
Although it is meant to keep people connected and informed, it regularly morphs into a venomous vehicle people use to spew hate.
I have personal accounts on Facebook and Twitter, and I also post and interact with Messenger readers on the newspaper’s accounts.
Personally, I enjoy the sites to interact with friends and family, especially those who don’t live locally. As a member of the media, I believe it’s a good way to share stories and keep your audience informed.
It’s a seemingly perfect tool because it’s practically an instantaneous way to reach those who are already readers and help create some new ones.
But its “perfection” often dissolves in the comments.
Unlike a blog post or a story posted on our website, we do not have the ability to screen comments prior to their appearance. That is not possible on Facebook. People write whatever they want, and it shows up, instantanously.
There are some stories in which I would choose to not allow comments, due to their sensitive nature. But again, that’s not possible on Facebook.
The purpose of comments on Facebook or in any online forum is to encourage a conversation, and I support that idea. There should be an exchange. But too often, the “conversation” devolves into name-calling, pushing political agendas and plain old arguing – or worse.
That defeats the purpose. The Messenger posted breaking news Tuesday morning and within six minutes, a comment was posted that sent the conversation in a downward spiral. Seven hours and 146 comments later, the “conversation” in the comments had nothing at all to do with the news story, but instead had turned into an argument between a handful of people.
Never mind that threats had been made, the lives of school children could have been in danger and the family at the center of the incident was devastated.
I enjoy the interaction with readers on the Messenger’s Facebook page, and I hope it helps facilitate a relationship between the newsroom and our readers. But some people abuse the privilege of being able to comment.
Why choose to be destructive?