Town Facebook Pages: A Breakdown

My town has one of those informal Facebook pages. You now what I’m talking about – one of those pages where residents can post comments or questions about town activities. It’s pretty useful for finding local contractors, learning about town-wide events and getting the inside scoop on things like businesses moving to town.

It’s also a very popular place for people to chat about anything town related, important or not. Reading it has become on of my favorite activities. I love watching people who might not ever speak to one another in person interact online. Like with all social media, there is a ton of keyboard courage on display.

Recently, I noticed certain patterns appearing in the larger threads. When you get to 100 or 200 posts, people start to fall into categories. Doesn’t matter the subject.

First, there’s the online venter who takes to letting everyone know when something in town ticks them off, no matter the offense. This person is usually the one who starts the thread.

To the person driving the red SUV who didn’t use their directional when turning into the supermarket parking lot. Please know there are CHILDREN in that area and your driving could have put someone at risk.

Their post is immediate followed by a large number of bandwagon jumpers. I confess to being one of these people.

Yes! People need to pay attention on the roads. It’s crazy how some people drive around town without regard for anyone’s safety. It’s only a matter of time before someone gets hurt.

 I so know what you mean. My daughter was almost hit the other day by some maniac speeding down Elm Street when she was walking to the bus.

 Eventually, the vitriol will be interrupted because someone’s comment mentioned a bigger offense.

The speed limit on Elm Street is 45 mph. Maybe you shouldn’t be letting your young daughter walk to the bus on such a busy road.

Which, of course, quickly turns into a post war.

I have to be at work before the bus arrives so my fourteen-year-old daughter has no choice. Don’t judge a situation you know nothing about.

 I work too. I found someone to drive my kids to school. There’s these things called car pools if you’re that concerned.

 This will go back and forth for several posts until someone pipes in with a reminder to play nice.

Let’s remember to keep this a positive forum, please. There’s no need to attack one another.

Those positive forum posts are never received well. Mainly because the people spatting never appreciate being told to be quiet. Guaranteed one of them will defensively post that they weren’t attacking anyone. They were simply explaining themselves.

Meanwhile, the thread will continue filling with posts from other types of members.

The thread hijacker:

OMG I saw the largest coyote on Elm Street. Lock up your cats and dogs!

The wannabe comedian. This person is funny about fifty percent of the time.

Would the person in the blue Nova please use their directional when turning into their driveway? It makes it very hard for me to speed down Elm Street and hit school-bound pedestrians when you don’t.

The person who thinks the town needs to fix the problem. Any problem. Be it the schools, the streets or the ugly landscaping at the bank.

What we need are better sidewalks on both sides of Elm and Smith Street as well as a sheltered bus stop. We should all call the town and let them know.

The town insider who is plugged in to every meeting and proposal happening in Town Hall, and quick to let you know.

The town has already discussed sidewalks on Elm and Smith Street. It was voted down because lack of funds. There’s a meeting Tuesday night to discuss whether to revisit the sidewalk study if anyone is interested.

 The judgemental snarker. (Not to be confused with the person getting into personal arguments. This poster is judging the entire thread. They will frequently refer to a previous kerfuffle as a way of telling people the thread is stupid. Of course, said stupidity doesn’t prevent the snarker from reading all 291 posts..)

I can’t believe we’re wasting all our time posting about Elm Street. Let’s go back to talking about the dead Chestnut Tree on Main Street.

And finally, every thread has the social justice warrior. The person who wants us to know they are more concerned with bigger issues, and needed to read 291 posts in order to tell us so.

If only we cared as much about the children starving in China as we do about driving habits.

Eventually, interest in the thread will end, as our attention moves on to something else. But it won’t be long until a new thread erupts into mass discussion and the patterns start again.

I love my fellow neighbors – I swear!

This sounds as though I’m mocking the people in my town. I’m not. Okay, I am a mocking little. But, the truth is I love my town and all its different personalities. My town Facebook page reminds me that my town is a wonderfully beautiful pool of diverse thoughts and opinions. We’re unique, and I treasure that uniqueness. I treasure the fact that there are 15,000 different opinions and viewpoints.

I wouldn’t trade any of them for the world.

Now, if you excuse me, someone just posted an angry screed about lawnmower noise on weekends….

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