#NitTwit: Social media as a tool for community chaos
By Markus Batchelor
Many of us active on the internet in the community have bore witness to the constant back-and-forth between community activists and political candidates on social media networks such as Twitter and Facebook.
Tools that were created for the purpose of connecting different types of people and spurring positive and productive conversation have caused more controversy in the community over the past few months than anything else.
Since the rancorous fight over the Presidency of the Ward 8 Democrats in September and furthermore since the starting gun fired on the 2012 City Council Elections, these social media platforms have been the stage for the most embarrassing and cutthroat showdowns between community leaders and citizens alike.
Though this subject really needs no evaluation or any more attention brought to it since it is playing itself out right now as you are reading this, I thought we should bring light to the stupidity of it all and call for a course of action to end it. I never thought I would see the day where middle-aged people are fighting virtual wars with other middle-aged people over platforms that were designed to be used by teenagers.
There is nothing wrong with healthy debate and bringing new issues to the table. However, what we are seeing on these social media sites now is the slow unraveling of the little unity the community has and the unquestionable embarrassment of our ward and all who are trying to do positive in it.
The problem is that so many people in this community are too interested in letting their opinions be heard about even the smallest topics that any means will be taken to get that attention. And unfortunately, the most boisterous, disruptive and attention-chasing members of the community are now discovering these tools that a year ago were just “for the children”.
Though we don’t want to shun people from the process or exclude them from having their voices heard, there is an inherent and immediate need to shift the conversation from conflict to resolution of the issues that our community has. We tend to get so sucked in to the conflict that even the most upstanding of us in the community are distracted, pulled into the gossip and taken away from the most important of the issues at hand.
Resolution? Conflict is inherent, but doesn’t need a permanent platform: Keep your conflicts off of social media! No one cares about them but you, and splashing them on Facebook or Twitter won’t make anyone else care any more. For those on the outside of the conflict, let’s stick to the productive conversation that is going to do good for the people of our community and that is going to spark positive change.
Let’s not continue to be #NitTwits