Community News

Ring - Your Past is Calling

<Rant>I was at a year-end dinner for a local political organization.  A few people mentioned writing letters to the editor of the local newspapers.  I scratched my head.  Does anyone still read a newspaper?  As I was thinking it, someone else asked that very question out loud.  Well, a few people do, but mostly older people.  It is dying out with the younger generation.

How does local news spread?  There is Facebook, but in many ways that is so pigeonholed most local news doesn’t spread.  There is a lot going on around here that I will never know about if I were to rely only on Facebook.

How do people communicate outside of their little clique?  The problem with social media is it stovepipes people.  There is no longer a single source that people of all walks of life, all social-economic classes, ages and all political persuasions read/listen to/watch/gather information from/etc.  At one time there was.

In my opinion, this is one of the biggest issues with American society today, and perhaps one of the biggest problems with worldwide society in general.  As we fall more and more into our own special little social media groups, these groups start spreading farther and farther apart.  Right now both major political parties in the US are having identity crises and looking at the squabbles show that forces within the parties are as far apart as imaginable, and the extremes of the parties driving the changes live in completely different Universes.  It isn’t left and right, it is just bonkers.  And it comes down, in my opinion, to the divided we fall idea.  We have segmented ourselves into these itty-bitty groups.

The little groups amplify ideas.  If everyone pretty much agrees, that is all you see or hear.  It grows, becomes more deeply entrenched.  Everything else becomes bad, evil.  Only your side is good!  It’s a feedback loop.  The mindset grows.  The separation continues.

And not just continues, the separation has been accelerating.  I can’t see where it will end.  But it has to.  There has to be a tie that binds us back together.  I don’t know where it will come from – both political parties in the US thrive on the differences – the more differences there are, the more they can point their fingers and say, “See!  That’s what we’re talking about!”  News stations thrive on it because it makes for exciting news, which gives higher ratings which brings in more income.  So where will these ties come from?

I think it will happen locally.

Again, how do I know what is going on in my community?  CNN or Fox isn’t going to tell me.  How do I find out?  We need to be communities again.

At some point in time some clever person will make a real community website that will bring people back together.  It will happen.  Perhaps it has started someplace else already and we will all see it soon.  But I think the next big wave of social media will be neighbors once more sharing their thoughts, even if they are completely opposite politically, socially or economically and very ages.  Local news, local views.</Rant>

— — — —

This is just a small political rant, and I know that it’s very shallow, just touching on the surface.  I could write a book on this, and I think there are books on the subject.  This little rant has nothing against the global nature of the Internet – I will not give up my far flung friends!  It is about local information.  A one stop shop for our towns and villages, a place everyone goes to see the latest that most affects them on a daily basis.  Real local news once again.

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13 thoughts on “Community News

  1. The Ranting Millennial

    2016 represented change. Only time will tell if the change is good, or bad…but until then, we need to look at 2017….new beginnings. Younger generations need to come together in 2017 and stand up for what we know is right. The world isn’t as big as it used to be…not to us. And we have the power to overcome the older generations and take our world back! We can bring control back to the people, how it was always supposed to be. We own enough of the population to control what is right and wrong, and make a real impact on the future. We don’t need to stand back just watching while our world burns. Join me in taking our world back in 2017. Happy New Years!

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  2. Pingback: If We Were Having Coffee on the Tenth of December | Trent's World (the Blog)

  3. nonsmokingladybug

    I canceled my beloved NYT now the NYTrump, and I don’t watch CNN anymore. I was a news junkie, but that has changed. The news has changed. It’s about ratings and rankings. It’s about sensationalism, and there is not a single reporter out there that hasn’t been infected. Look at the last election, look at all the mass shootings. They make a spectacle out of it, and it’s uncalled for -that’s at least my humble opinion.

    Facebook and other social media sites are too to blame for many of the news hoaxes, but so are the readers who are too lazy to research. I believe there is a lawsuit in Germany against Facebook and I am curious to see if they will win.

    I read the Washington Post now, read the news in Europe, read BBC and some online papers that give me the source with any article. No source, no reader!

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    1. trentpmcd Post author

      For national and international news I have a few sites I read (including BBC), but I hate watching the news – as you said, it is all about sensationalism. It is a huge problem with these 24×7 news organizations competing – they don’t show you the news that’s important, they show the news that will give them the most viewers.

      I think it is very scary that the majority of Americans use social media as their primary news source! And with the fake news sites preying on them, even scarier. I hope something will be done to stop the fake news sources, except things like The Onion, which are obviously satirical.

      Anyway, national and international media may be a topic of another post ;) For now it’s just that I find it frustrating that local news really doesn’t exist anymore. The main source, small town newspapers, are a dying breed. Internet versions are even less successful than the print ones. Unity is not going to start at the top and work its way down, it will have to start at the bottom and work its way up. And the first part is the local community.

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        1. trentpmcd Post author

          Actually, TV local news isn’t local enough for what I’m talking about ;) I live in a town of about 1000 people (never mentioned by TV) and yet there are activities every night, sometimes a lot of them. If you moved here, you would know about zero. There is no source of information. If there is a warning that needs to go out to all people in this town, there is no source. If someone dies, you most likely won’t know. 20 years ago everyone read the same newspaper and these were all part of it. Everyone knew what was happening, you could communicate with the entire community if you needed to, everyone knew. It was a community. It isn’t a community any more. People don’t know their neighbors, nobody knows what is happening in town, and there is zero communication. If you need any information on an event, it can take an evening of searches to find it. There is no longer a central location. The community here died. It is just a bunch of people who happen to live in a similar geographic location.

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          1. nonsmokingladybug

            Don’t you guys have a neighborhood board? (https://nextdoor.com)

            I live in a small, older part on the outskirts of Columbus. We communicate on the neighborhood board. The local township center and the sheriff department are involved and so are numerous churches and small businesses.

            We share everything. Events, Santa meetings, neighborhood help, we talk about good restaurants and shops we like. Someone started it 2 years ago, printed an invitation and we all found it in our mailbox. Many signed up. I have met neighbors I didn’t know (go figure I walk our dogs and thought I know everybody).

            Look it up!

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            1. trentpmcd Post author

              Nope, haven’t seen it. And thanks, I’ll take a look and forward it on to some of the “more important” people in the town, like the selectmen. Might not help writing letters with writing letters to the editor about the bad things some local politicians do, but for the other things ;)

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                1. trentpmcd Post author

                  The people in town I talk to the most are the “important people” ;) Actually, I was thinking I might start with the community center people – the community center is mostly an idea at this point, and i think this would be a great tool for them. I worked with these people for a while too, though I don’t see or talk to any of them as often as I do two of our selectmen.

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  4. fullgrownnerd

    I have been thinking about this very same thing…for politics and general day-to-day life stuff. (I became very frustrated a couple of weeks ago when I needed to do a ridiculous amount of searching just to find the time and date for our local Christmas parade…and then again when I could find the date for the tree lighting, but no time. I eventually found the information, but it shouldn’t be that difficult to connect with my community about something so simple!) For a while now, I’ve been considering starting up a county blog…a place for sharing local events and news and ideas…sort of newspaper-y, but different. I just don’t know if I have the time to commit to it and do it well. I’m also not sure how well it would go since my political leanings (Ah, heck, who am I kidding? I’m not just leaning…I’m practically falling over.) are so very different than the vast majority of people in my area. But now that I’ve read your post, I’m wondering if it’s not more than just “a whimsical idea I had.” Perhaps it would actually be an important move in establishing community. Hmmmm.

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    1. trentpmcd Post author

      I have seen community blogs, but how to get the entire community involved? A few vocal people will chime in, but will everyone use it? It’s worth a try, not doubt. Our town does have a web site with a calendar and people can put stuff on it, but the site is still pretty limited and not very useful.

      The “leaning so much you’re falling over” part is also an issue – if people think it’s being used for political reasons, they won’t come. Even if it isn’t, if it’s just a perception, it will still keep people away. If you do give it a try, make sure you let us know how it works out!

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