I am a faithful visitor to Facebook - many times, I visit the site in the morning as I get ready for work, check it throughout my day, and it is one of the last things I do before I?go to bed. I’m not proud of that obsession, but it has proven to be a good way to keep in touch with friends and loved ones.
I try to post something every day as well. While many of my friends may tire of my abundant posts about my two cats, along with adorable photos, sometimes it is hard to find something to put up every day.
I strive to keep my posts positive and drama-free. I try to integrate humor as much as I can so others reading my status updates can smile or laugh as they keep track of what I’m up to.
That does not mean I?won’t put up a status update that shares bad news or expressions of disappointment or grief. I also want my Facebook “friends” to get an honest representation of who I am. I try to be true to who I am and how I am feeling without airing too much dirty laundry online.
I see Facebook as a form of entertainment, as well as a form of communication, so I don’t want to affect others in a negative way or hurt anyone with my words.
Unfortunately, not everyone on Facebook feels the same. I have read posts that make me cringe and shake my head in dismay.
I?believe everyone has a right to their opinion, a right to share a negative comment and a right to share their own grief or challenges. It’s called freedom of speech.
However, lately I have seen Facebook and other media sites used as a platform for spreading negative reviews of our local businesses. While I support someone’s choice to post a negative review about a business after having a bad experience, the following campaign to spread this review through all the Facebook connections bothers me.
One example popped up last week when a visitor to one of our communities had a bad experience with a business owner. After returning home from her visit to our area, the reviewer posted a comment on Facebook and asked all her friends to share it. I saw it only because it reached into my own web of friends.
I understood her frustration and believe she had every right to share that with her own Facebook connections, however, I feel she went too far when she asked her friends to help spread the message. This became a slur campaign that could be damaging to a business in our area.
Those who shared the status did not experience the situation. They do not know both sides of the story. They do not know the person or business in question and may never have visited our communities. So, it’s easy to share that status without knowing the ramifications of that action.
Plus, I’m always one to give others “the benefit of the doubt” when it comes to second-hand accounts of a situation. Everyone can have a bad day and everyone can react inappropriately at times. One incident does not provide an adequate view of a business or a business owner.
Last fall, a similar situation took place on Facebook regarding a local restaurant. Someone received poor service and less-than-desirable food and decided to post it on Facebook, spurring a negative and destructive conversation that should never have been public.
As I said earlier, we can all have a bad day and we, in small communities, are lucky to have business owners who invest in our towns and keep their doors open through good times and bad. We have to help uplift them instead of tearing them down with negative comments posted on a whim.
Social media sites have become powerful communication tools and I hope people will start to use them for good rather than a conduit for negative thoughts.
Let’s try and reward our local businesses for good food, good service and good community support.
When one has a negative experience at a local establishment, I would hope they would talk to the owner personally and try to resolve it. Keep it off the social media websites.
If you have a positive experience, I would hope the opposite would be true. Let’s compliment those businesses and individuals who deserve it and encourage others to visit them as well.
How often are we more likely to complain than share a compliment? I am just as guilty as anyone else on that matter, so it’s something I want to work on too.
Let’s try and promote our local businesses in a positive light so others from around the state and surrounding areas will want to visit them too.
Let’s use the power of social media for good - not bad!