Keeping the social noticeboard clean
LOCAL community Facebook pages and groups are lovely in theory, but online conversations can quickly get out of hand, abusive and rude.
In small communities, this can be especially divisive.
Our local page works a treat, with posts mostly about lost cats and dogs, snake alerts, music gigs at the local pub and things to buy and sell.
However, someone recently posted about an event at a local venue that promised erotic exotic dancers and a wet T-shirt competition.
There were complaints, the page administrators duly wiped the post and away went the complainants, declaring free speech had been jailed and said if women wanted to do that with their bodies then that was their business.
Someone else asked about the impact of objectifying women’s bodies.
How would that play out in the world for their daughters, sisters and mothers?
The venting “free-speechers” huffed off and started an alternative community page where presumably anyone can promote whatever event they like in the name of free speech.
This global tension (identity politics/tribalism) writ small brought home just how much people take on when they set up and moderate or administer online community pages or groups.
They’ve become akin to the local newspaper editor, in some cases, having to decide a community standard.
Upon them falls the responsibility of monitoring the page to make sure comments and conversations don’t get out of hand. Some spend hours each day on this.
Laceby resident Mel Evans, who oversees the Laceby, Greta and Glenrowan Community Group on Facebook, feels it’s her personal responsibility to keep the conversation nice.
“People know I’m the administrator of the site and I think it’s a reflection on you as a person if you leave things go,” she says.
“I don’t want this to be known as a site where people can get on and say anything (abusive or offensive).”
Difference is often sparked by the smallest thing as we all seek to be heard.