Monday, October 14, 2013
I had an idea for a blog months ago, but I guess it still applies and that's on the term "Social Network." So much of it lately seems to be the exact opposite. Being a news guy I visit quite a few law enforcement Facebook and Twitter pages to get ideas for stories or update stories.
Most of the time those sites are for information sake, but they allow for public posts. Some of them can get particularly nasty. I've seen some sites threaten to bar users because of the comments they've left on posts. It doesn't stop there though. Our website (KFIZ.com) also allows comments on news stories. Most times no one bothers, but on stories that smack of controversy that's a whole different animal.
We get complaints sometimes about those comments. Being a flag carrier for the 1st amendment sometimes leaves you conflicted. The anonymity that a username can afford people sometimes emboldens them to post things they wouldn't dare say to a person's face. It can be spiteful, hurtful and can at times be said about a person who can no longer defend themselves. I know of one such case in which it was suggested a facility be named after a person who is no longer with us. I'm glad she wasn't alive to see the posts that attacked her.
Other posts simply attack people for the job that they do. People who wouldn't dream of getting behind the wheel and driving after a few drinks have no trouble hammering out their spiteful thoughts on a keyboard, smart phone or tablet late at night or early in the morning. I guess I was taught to be courteous to people or not indulge in saying something negative about them in public. As a reporter I do have to report on things that do put a negative light on people sometimes, but it is not done with spite. I learned a long time ago that there are two sides to every story and on most social networking sites a way to bar people who can't be social.