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No. 923 why I don't like social media

Editor's take

POSTED: August 10, 2017 6:30 p.m.
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Jeff Whitten is editor of the Bryan County News

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This column is about nothing in particular. But let’s start with Reason No. 923 why I dislike social media: I, like so many others in newspapers, have long since been coerced into having a Facebook page. I’m also occasionally allowed to post things on our newspaper Facebook page, and Wednesday I shared something that rubbed at least one young woman the wrong way to the point she called us out on it.

The "something" was one of those throw-a-way lists internet people come up with to get people to click on their websites. We in the media are inundated with them - 10 places where people like to eat out; 10 places where people have enough storage units; 10 towns where people have nosy neighbors; 10 cities where the police need to go on diets; etc, etc.

This one was "10 most white trash cities in Georgia," or some such nonsense, and at the top of it at No. 1 was Statesboro. Well, I thought, that’s funny. So, I shared it because we like people going to our Facebook page.

Within minutes, a women had private messaged the Bryan County News Facebook page to complain. I responded, quite cleverly I thought, to say (and I’m paraphrasing) look, I’m nth generation upstate South Carolina. You can’t get much more white trash than that, but it didn’t help.

She responded she was from Mississippi, which was more Southern than South Carolina. So, rather than leave the post up and debate angry folks all day, I just pulled the post. It’s not important. It’s not news, and anyone who thinks it is probably gets all their information from Facebook posts, tweets and inane lists somebody makes up. Which is probably why we’re where we are now, wherever that is. Mad about something somebody posted on social media, probably.

From readers:

I’m not going to name names, but I’m hearing more and more from people fed up with what’s happening in South Bryan. Here’s one such email from a longtime resident, which read in part:

"As I observe the "growth" of RH it is obvious to me that any previous plan to maintain the quality of life here is absolutely worthless. Case in point, the "luxury condos" on Highway 144 just before Parkers; far too many units, no real frontage, built too quickly, trees raped out, etc. ...hundreds will pour from them each morning and further impede the traffic flow. The same can be said for construction on Timber Trail and Brisbon Road, Harris Trail and so forth ...the list goes on and on. Often the units are small, poorly built and lacking any aesthetic appeal. All of this fosters a certain decline in the quality of life for RH and adds to the congestion at both a.m. and p.m. times.

"Gone are the days of a nice, class A school with close ties between staff, students and parents. I believe that those seeking profit have trumped those that value a quiet lifestyle in the traditional sense. Many of us will move away from this area knowing that within 10 years the town will resemble Savannah with traffic, crime and a degraded school system."

And, here are some comments from a gentleman who emails me on occasion to offer what I consider to be poetic opinions on things going on in South Bryan: "I missed the town hall meeting but it sounds like the city and county are anxious to get all the new roads in place. Then begins the massive destruction of our area.

"I have good memories of growing up in Thunderbolt. Rowing a boat in the river, casting for shrimp, fishing and swimming off the docks in the summer. There were shrimp boats tied up at the docks and the dock owners never asked us to move on.

"Then destruction hit as the bluff was lined with what appears to be Motel 6’s. Gone for ever as they lined their pockets."

He’s preaching to the choir and expects something similar to happen here. How fair is that? Sometimes, when I look around at what we do to our surrounding it makes me think we as a species are worse than termites.

Traffic: Much as I don’t care for Facebook, it has turned into a tool for occasional good. Like this post from the Richmond Hill Police Department, which is apparently meant to alert drivers stuck in traffic, or about to be:

"There is a wreck on the interstate involving a semi truck that has run off of the roadway. This is causing a significant traffic problem on I-95 northbound. Additionally, vehicles are exiting the interstate and attempting to take Hwy. 144 east to Hwy. 17 which is also causing delays for people coming from Fort Stewart. That traffic, in turn, is causing delays for people taking Hwy 144 west to Hwy. 17 and then Hwy. 17 north toward Savannah.

"We know this is slow going. We hope the interstate will clear up soon and the traffic can get moving again. It will take a while for the traffic to get back to a normal flow.

"Thank you for your patience."

That’s a good post.

I’ve driven roads around this part of Georgia for three decades now, and traffic has gotten worse by the year. It’s not Atlanta, no thanks to some who’d like to see us turn into Gwinnett County, but it’s getting closer. And if you’re stuck in traffic for three hours, what does it matter whether you’re stuck with 10,000 people or 100,000?

Sadly, it’s only going to get worse. The more roads you got, the more traffic that creates. The more traffic, the more roads you need, and so on.

Sometimes, I think this is all one big weird joke somebody’s playing on us. Like "people Frogger" or something.

One more from the inbox: A woman sent me an email the other day about the addition of Argus Hamilton’s column to the opinion page. Her take:

"Not Funny. Lose this guy."

Finally something positive: My dislike of Facebook doesn’t stop me from enjoying Alex Floyd’s posts on Facebook. Despite his young age, the director of the Pembroke Downtown Development Authority is a walking encyclopedia of arcane local knowledge and has a droll sense of humor. Floyd will go far, I think. He’s a sort of young old fart, if I can write that and not get into trouble for it.

These days, you have to be careful.

Take care.

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