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Saturday, July 16, 2011

Come on in, the water’s fine!

When I joined Facebook, one of the first things I had to figure out was what to do about the “worlds collide” effect. Facebook makes it easy to share—too easy, sometimes. And sometimes there can be repercussions when, for example, your co-workers see posts about things you did in your off hours that might not fit in with your professional reputation.

I decided that I didn’t want to have to segregate the people in my life into different “friend lists” and set my privacy controls so that friends of friends can see pretty much everything I post.

I did this in the full expectation that I would end up getting “unfriended” by a certain number of people who hadn’t previously been aware of my political, social, and/or religious views (or lack thereof). But much to my surprise, instead I started getting friend requests from friends of friends whom I’d never met “IRL” (in real life). Even from ones whose views are far to the right of mine. And every once in a while, one of my real-life friends will ask me why I don’t delete such and such comment from one or another of these right-wing Facebook friends. My response is that I don’t want my Facebook page to be an echo chamber, and I like to be able to keep tabs on what “the enemy” is up to.

What does this have to do with Progressive Charlestown, I’m sure you’re wondering. Well, Charlestown is a small town, and as a “hyperlocal” blog, Progressive Charlestown has a readership that is probably about equal numerically to many people’s Facebook friend lists. So it seems to me we should all be on a first-name basis with each other. It truly puzzles me why a certain number of people insist on posting anonymously. Yes, this is a First Amendment right—but as a courtesy to your neighbors, who surely deserve to know who’s addressing them or who they’re responding to, isn’t this a right that can readily be waived? No one is required to use their real name: Create a screen name if you must. But at least allow the comments of one Anonymous to be distinguished from those of another Anonymous, in the interest of promoting a coherent discussion.

Author: Linda Felaco