Parenting The Posts
Reduced participation at public hearings can possibly be attributed to the public’s reluctance to Zoom or utilize phone-in options due to the pandemic; to Zoom fatigue after a day’s work staring at the computer or assisting children remotely learning; or simply to COVID fatigue. Even so, we would have thought that the Letter Hive would be buzzing by now with letters pro and con regarding the nearly $81 million education budget and the over $43 million municipal budget, and that our Facebook page would have comments piling up on these subjects.
Alas. Mum’s the word for our Facebook readers when it comes to the budgets, at least to date. What riled up social media followers, though, was a recent post regarding a documentary in the works, “Why Is Newtown So White?” And that leads to putting on our “Mom Voice.”
You know how when siblings squabble and before you know it raised voices are bleeding into areas only somewhat related to the initial conflict? It demands parental interference: “Stop. Stop right now and think about what you are saying and who you are saying it to.” It requires guidance away from the myriad other complaints back to the original sin, for civil resolution. Okay, maybe there will still be a tongue stuck out behind someone’s back, but the focus is back where it belongs.
The Newtown Bee reserves the right to pull out our “Mom Voice” when comments on a Facebook page digress away from educational, informational points related to the particular post on which the comment is placed. It is nowhere for personal vendettas or falling down the rabbit hole of emotions. There is nothing wrong with stating an opinion about the article, but we always hope it can be done in a manner not insulting to others who may be commenting or reading it. We do our best to monitor comments, but the staff of The Newtown Bee is small — we do not have a staff member dedicated to social media. That means inappropriate remarks can remain visible for a longer period than we wish as we jump back and forth between getting the week’s work done and parenting those who cannot refrain from verbal abuse or personal insults. As with letters, it is a fine line between what any individual might feel is permissible and what we deem irrelevant to the subject of the post.
We rarely opt to take down any post, as even those such as the one recently on fire include comments appropriate to the story. When threads begin to unravel, when language becomes hurtful, we will hide comments.
We do our best. But, like parents, we make misjudgments: Who started the fight? Where did it go astray?
Social media, as well as our Letter Hive, provides an outlet for strong opinions — and it should be noted that others’ opinions are not those of The Newtown Bee. But with that in mind, think about what you are saying and who you are saying it to. And we mean that, with all our “Mom Voice” hearts.