I’ve never been one of those knee-jerk social media haters. When many called Twitter a waste of time, I defended its utility as a way to get information out quickly, in real time, and to reach people who otherwise weren’t part of the news ecosystem.
When we began using Facebook at the Peninsula Pulse, it was gratifying to see people follow our pages and choose to invite our work into their personal social media feed during the days before brands and promoted posts took over the platform. It was exciting to see which stories people responded to, which photos moved them, the way people responded to a profile about a neighbor.
The ego in me loved to see the comments and shares multiply, but what I really loved were the conversations our pages would spark: People sharing more about the story, or former residents reconnecting to their home community, or strangers connecting me or our other writers to another thread that led to another source or a better story.
But now, like I’m guessing many of you feel, I dread even a glance at our Facebook page as it’s inundated by commenters who read no further than a headline, a photo or the first comment they can fire back at.
Our goal in covering the news of our peninsula has always been to drive conversations forward, to be an instigator of constructive discussions that move our community toward better solutions and better outcomes. That’s the goal in print, online, with our videos and through our social media.
We’ve never posted in pursuit of clicks. We don’t use headlines aimed solely at getting the most clicks or engagement, or getting a rise out of our readers. Our readers won’t, and shouldn’t, all agree on every issue, but it’s not much to ask that we all be respectful of our neighbors and their experiences. We’ve found during the past year, and especially during the last few months, that even the most innocuous posts spark petty arguments and unearth trolls whose primary aim in life seems to be arguing with people online.
That’s why we’re changing course. This week we’ve stopped posting most news articles on our Facebook page. It will cost us some website traffic, but it will save us some headaches, the time spent moderating comments and the negativity that Facebook showers on the work we do.
The latest news from our team of reporters, editors, producers and videographers will still be updated daily at DoorCountyPulse.com/news, and you can get it delivered to your inbox daily by signing up for Pulse Picks, our daily email of news, arts, music and events. And of course, we still want your feedback. Send a letter to the editor at [email protected], or just a personal note to me at [email protected] or to any of our staff members. We welcome the conversation, critiques and ideas. We just believe there are better ways to communicate with them.
We know this won’t change Facebook. People will still post and comment on their own pages and groups, but at the very least, the toxicity that some like to bring to the conversation won’t happen on our page.
That’s one small step toward the better conversations we all need to be having right now – and always.