We heard social media was outraged over the weekend that some folks living in a somewhat flood prone area of the county had to seek help getting their menagerie to dry land.
People get to say what they want, but because of the sheer volume of material it’s hard to hold anyone accountable for dashing off something that just popped into their heads as they were scrolling their phone.
If people took outrage posts with the grain of salt they probably should, we could all move on with our lives.
But one of the dangers is that a social media pile-on can get in the way of the people who are actually trying to help.
We’ve heard over and over again that the algorithm rewards outrage, and that pretty much makes any effort to bring some factual basis to a discussion extremely difficult.
From a media perspective, we live in a stream of consciousness world where “What’s on your mind?” is a question fraught with possibilities.
More importantly, it’s not just the rescued who find themselves being criticized by people whom they’ve never met and wouldn’t be able to pick out of a lineup.
The collateral damage is to the folks who do the rescuing, especially volunteers.
Who would risk lighting a match to an increasingly inflammatory public discourse when it would be just as easy to do what they have to and eschew social media entirely.
Instead of celebrating the people who are taking their own time to help their neighbors, people leap to attack those very neighbors in need.
This week is Sunshine Week, when publications like The Record-Courier take a bit to remind folks about openness in government.
But we’d like to remind folks that there are responsibilities that come with openness.
Maintaining a public forum is hard enough to do as it is, without having everyone yelling at one another. Because when everyone is yelling, no one is listening.