just adding to the reasons why I ask Sheena to take Village business and discussion off Facebook and onto a more suitable platform. Facebook remains the place people can most easily interact with our village leader. What does that say about our village? Food for thought. https://www.cnet.com/news/facebook-tricked-kids-in-order-to-rake-in-money-from-online-games-says-report/#ftag=COS-05-10aaa0j
I think using Facebook says that we are trying to reach the largest number of residents with ZERO cost. That works for me.
There are ways to do it without invading people’s privacy, selling their data while also using it for profiling as well as targeting children. This could be a great civics lesson for a high school tech class to build a forum for the town. Are we so out of creative ideas? Hope not. We all deserve better.
mayhewdrive said:I think using Facebook says that we are trying to reach the largest number of residents with ZERO cost. That works for me.
Not such thing as zero cost or free lunch. Someone pays. The cost is you. You are the product bing sold by Facebook.
Surely you cannot believe that Facebook has expensive hardware, software and support because they love you?
correct. Facebook isn’t free. The user is the product.
There are those of who consciously choose to not join Facebook. Is there information which is shared via Facebook which is not available through other channels like the town website?
There are MANY forums to interact with and learn about our town: Facebook is one and probably the most widely used, but there is also MOL, NextDoor, Village Green and the Village website. Of course, you can also attend public meetings. No matter what you do, someone will always complain "they didn't know", but like most things people also need to take some responsibility themselves.
I know there are many forums available.
I'm curious to know if there is information available through Facebook that's not available elsewhere.
mrincredible said:I know there are many forums available.I'm curious to know if there is information available through Facebook that's not available elsewhere.
Well, if you want to see Sheena’s childhood pictures or what she ate for dinner, you can only see that on FB. But, any material news about the town is available in multiple places.
I don't know that it's essential information, but sometimes someone will pose a question to Sheena and she might respond. Recently, someone had a question about property taxes and why she perceived they are not applied equally. You can learn a lot about new businesses and restaurants, who is opened and closed on a holiday or snow day, recos for all kinds of services and things and perhaps at its best, people get recos on doctors and urgent care clinics if they need them. And of course, complaints - a recent one is why is it taking so long to renovate the old S.O. Village Hall space. "Does anyone know what happened?" is a common question when there are sirens and/or a helicopter hovering above, and 95% of the time, no, no one really has any information on it. (My theory is when sirens are going off, the only people who know what's going on are the people being chased and the people doing the chasing, and presumably they are not posting on FB or MOL at that time.)
If people want to boycott FB, I'm not going to talk them out of it but I get a lot out of it, including keeping in touch with people and places and links to articles in media such as the NYT and The Atlantic. Sure, one might argue that I am only receiving a small targeted and specially curated batch of content, but given they are credible news sources I'm not sure how it could be branded as "fake news."
It used to be that unless you went to the meetings the only way to be informed by a town about anything was through a newspaper. I find it to be a useful tool. Yes, tons of comments on all of these boards don't add to the conversation or need to be there at all, but still it is a useful option.
Lovesagoodsale - Whatever happened to the website that you were going to develop?
FilmCarp said:It used to be that unless you went to the meetings the only way to be informed by a town about anything was through a newspaper. I find it to be a useful tool. Yes, tons of comments on all of these boards don't add to the conversation or need to be there at all, but still it is a useful option.
All of the BOT meetings are live streamed and archived.
Ok, but when the Russians infiltrate the Township Committee, don’t say You weren’t warned.
Cramer: I am no longer interested in doing that because people are nasty online as far as I can tell. Please prove me wrong. I would urge our town to use one online forum as the official forum and make it on a platform that doesn’t spy or sell our data or sell stuff to our kids without our knowledge.
I agree that the town should use a separate forum from Facebook, which I avoid as much as possible and the town is no doubt aware that many do not use it. What happened to the funding/initiative for this? Also, can someone tell me what happened to SO Connect? Is there a way to submit issues to the town such as large potholes? Thanks.
If someone asked Sheena an informational question about taxes in her living room, the rest of us wouldn't know about it (if we weren't subscribed to her living room). Trying to restrict what she, as an individual, can say on Facebook or anywhere else would seem to be a pretty major violation of her 1st Amendment Rights.
Seems to be another no-win situation. Whenever someone tags Sheena on FB and she responds, a number of people comment how much they appreciate her responding, and doing it relatively quickly. If she didn't use FB, people would complain she's not responsive.
If the town produced the local equivalent of a FB, people would complain that they're devoting staff and technology to something that could be done for free on FB.
My experience is people find FB useful for local issues. They get recommendations on businesses and services, particularly if there is a health emergency or something wrong with their house, updates on power outages, who's opened and closed during snow days etc. The reality is most people don't need to have daily contact with the local government, but they do have other needs and questions. If you're a relatively new homeowner and a pipe bursts, a boiler shuts down, half the house loses electricity or you need someone to shovel you walk, getting in touch with Sheena or the BoT really isn't going to help much.
My posts are often abbreviated because I am usually using my phone, but to make myself abundantly clear:
My main concern is if South Orange (or any municipality) decides to excessively favor one form of communication over another, especially when that form of communication is a third party such as Facebook. I understand from what people are posting above that the added value of Facebook in South Orange is it seems to come with more convenient interaction with the Village President. I have to make the decision about whether that convenience is enough of a motivator for me to break down and put my face in the book.
Sheena is free to post whatever she likes on Facebook or Twitter or Instagram or Flounder. I also think it would be unrealistic for a township to NOT have a presence on social media these days. So many people interact with the world largely through social media and if you want an engaged citizenry it's an important information channel.
I somewhat lament this situation. For one thing we're recently seeing how Facebook ads and false Facebook profiles can be used to sow disinformation and sway opinions. For another, to use GoSlug's living room analogy up above, it invites Facebook into Sheena's living room to record and save that interaction for its own uses. So Facebook could potentially build a data set characterizing the interactions between a local municipal government and its constituents, or a local politician and her electorate.
apple44, I think part of the problem is the perception of Facebook (or other digital platforms) being "free" because they don't have an explicit price tag on display. But there's a cost to doing business with a company like Facebook. They have tremendous computing power at their disposal, an enormous wealth of information about billions of people/companies/governments and they operate without a lot of oversight. Quis custodiet ipsos Facebook?
mrincredible said:I somewhat lament this situation. For one thing we're recently seeing how Facebook ads and false Facebook profiles can be used to sow disinformation and sway opinions. For another, to use GoSlug's living room analogy up above, it invites Facebook into Sheena's living room to record and save that interaction for its own uses. So Facebook could potentially build a data set characterizing the interactions between a local municipal government and its constituents, or a local politician and her electorate.
And I'm sure they will. The existence of Facebook is to build interactions databases, a marketable commodity.
It doesn't matter if we think "what use Sheena's interactions be, who would buy it." The data gets build regardless, an automatic process. No one is looking at user interactions to decide what will be collected. All is collected, to be potentially sold.
mrincredible - What sources do you use to keep informed about what is going on in the Village? Do you feel that you aren't able to get information or answers to questions you may have?
I don’t object to Sheena or anyone else using Facebook. It’s a person’s choice. My point is, it’s not a good venue to use for general info to the town since they mine our data and sell it and sell stuff to our kids without recourse. There must be a better venue. I liked Next Door but cannot access that anymore. There should be a forum. We don’t need something as complicated as Facebook, we need a place to ask questions online that all can access to better disseminate info. That’s my point. As far as funding that, it wouldn’t cost much and I would be willing to help.
Lovesagoodsale - In addition to being banned from Nextdoor, my recollection is that you said you were also banned from SOMA Lounge. Is this correct?
why do you ask? Yes. It is correct. On Soma lounge a woman invited other women to join her for a woman’s night out/ mehndi party. I guess they have these nights out regularly. Sounds like a lovely idea and way to meet other neighbors. A nice convo ensued until a person came on the thread and said the event was culturally appropriative and therefor not OK. I suggested that if that person felt so, the way to go about was to start a thread on that rather than trying to dissuade or shame women from attending the event because she didn’t approve. I told her shutting down conversation is the opposite of sharing and she had no right to rain on the parade of the woman who had graciously invited everyone to the event. Next thing I know, I was banned. Go figure! I’m actually a pretty accomplished advocate for the First Amendment so this Facebook banning thing gives me hives. Feels like a place where you are meant to agree with the herd or perish.
just to be clear, the First Amendment doesn’t apply to soma lounge but the same may not be true for Sheena’s official posts as elected official.
I also had a channel on YouTube with lots of police misconduct from the City and that was banned and censored. Stuff is crazy out there on the internets but I’m sure we can do better in our town.
I don't agree that a S.O. or Maplewood specific forum wouldn't cost much. Someone needs to continually moderate it, particularly as it can easily be contaminated with posts that are overly political, self-promotional and/or intended to smear Sheena or others on the BoT. Someone will have to monitor it to ensure that questions get to the right people within the town. Even if that is not a full-time position, that is someone working for the town, getting benefits, eventually a pension and all that. Some might say, well, just get a student intern from SHU to do it - arguably you can suggest that for any number of town roles, and there are legitimate reasons why that doesn't happen.
Also, while many people aren't on FB owing to some dislike of it, many aren't there because they don't use the internet much or at all, and those folks aren't going to be well served by a town-specific online forum.
good points. As time goes by, there will be more and more people online with less and less time to attend meetings but still may want to ask questions or share info. Facebook is not a good place to be the main source of online info. That’s my point here. This is a nice forum but it’s Maplewood online. Does this forum cost a lot? I know I would be happy to volunteer time and money to make this a reality. It’s necessary. Anything that opens up the convo to more people without selling our data is a plus, IMO.
cramer said:mrincredible - What sources do you use to keep informed about what is going on in the Village? Do you feel that you aren't able to get information or answers to questions you may have?
If I'm looking for specific info I'll go the town website and look for the right department info. Sometimes I'll call.
I am on Nextdoor, so I guess I should be concerned about what data they're gathering.
My concern is not so much about me, more about what the municipal information landscape is on general.
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