I’m a people person. I can honestly say that I enjoy people, quirky, opinionated, flighty, whatever. But I don’t like disrespect. I love my community of Gulfport. I am active in attending meetings, answering people's questions and listening to their concerns. But I don’t like disrespect. I like that social media has opened new and immediate avenues to communicate and get input. But I don’t like disrespect.
Are we beginning to catch on here? One of the detrimental things about social media is the starkness of it. When you have a personal conversation, one on one, there are nuances, you know if someone is really upset, or just asking. Online you read the comments in all their austerity and question the motivation.
What weight should someone give comments online? Did that person actually go to the meetings where these issues were discussed or did they do the research? What gives them the right to comment as though they are the authority on the matter?
Why are their individuals that always pop up on social media and then there are the many who are watchers, who read the posts but for the most part don’t engage? I know I for one don’t usually engage because I would rather listen to ways to fix a problem, not complain about it. And, if possible I would rather pay a personal visit to someone and explain my side in an arena where we can truly communicate one on one, with no other outside forces (in some instances disgruntled folks who don’t even reside in Gulfport or either reside here but don’t participate in the public meeting forums but feel the need to provide running negative commentary on Gulfport) can attempt to interject their views.
On the Gulfport Patch site I would point to the accusations and disrespect of one another on the smoking ban issue. In some cases I would suggest anger management classes. I was at the workshop where this was discussed, if memory serves correctly there were five other individuals in attendance. I’m pretty sure that folks know how to email their council representative in advance if they couldn’t make that meeting due to work etc. But I’m not thinking that there were any such emails written.
However, over 70 plus responders felt the need to post on social media before and after the fact. Guess what, those comments made on social media are not part of the public record sending an email, letter, or phone call is. Sometimes I like the fact that someone can throw out a subject just to see what response they will get and it is informative to me and how I think about what Gulfport needs or doesn’t.
A bit of perspective though, you catch more flies with honey then vinegar. The elected officials read and respect public record and commentary not accusations or allegations.
Social media can be productive or destructive, that’s your personal prerogative.