<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>
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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.