As a member of the Penticton Facebook group, sometimes it’s all I can do to shake my head in disbelief at the diatribe, ignorance, complaining and overall negativity of certain group users.
While the group can facilitate meaningful discussions about complex topics, more often than not these conversations boil down to personal attacks, never-ending rants and an unwillingness to compromise or even accept another person’s point of view. Everyone wants to have the last word and everyone wants to be right, but it’s simply not possible, and so instead of being a community group, this page is more akin to a community-hating group.
This is not to say that all of the group members hate Penticton or one another, but it certainly creates this breeding ground of negativity bordering on nihilism. It seems that one well-meaning person will post a question or suggestion about a hot button issue, then commenters will give their two cents, others will disagree, some will troll the post to incite anger with ridiculous statements, others will turn the ongoing rhetoric into humour, etc. At the end, we’re left with a post that is no closer to a solution and a user group even more divided.
If one were solely to base their opinions of this city off of the Penticton Facebook page, they would shudder at the idea of visiting the area, let alone living here. I am not saying the city is without its problems, and I do believe this page can be useful for its residents, but it needs to be used correctly for that to happen.
Firstly, if you find yourself writing a post to the page in which you’ve dreamt up a solution to one of the city’s problems, stop yourself. Is a Facebook group the right place to direct your recommendation? What authority do the members have to enact it? I’ve seen countless posts in that group that should have simply been a letter to any of our elected officials or the city staff, these are the people with the power to actually listen and heed your suggestion if it is worthwhile. All you’re going to receive from the Penticton Facebook page is support from those who agree, disapproval from those who don’t, and a mess of other opinions that may not be related to your topic in the first place.
Secondly, if you find yourself engaging in an argument in the comments thread of a post in this group, stop yourself. Has any argument on Facebook ever led to a successful resolution? Has anyone ever completely caved on their belief system, admitted they were wrong, apologized and then switched sides? Why do you think this specific argument will end any differently? Our need to be right seems to overpower the rational part of us that knows we should just drop it.
Finally, if you find yourself posting to the page asking a question about the city or its problems, stop yourself. Did you check to see if others have already posted about this topic? If so, did it come to a resolution in which an answer was agreed upon? If not, do you think that your question will have better success at this endeavour? Chances are, someone has already posted about the topic you wish to discuss and posting a similar question or idea is just going to garner the same result.
I encourage the Penticton Facebook page members to, instead, use the page as simply a way to share information and connect with others. You are not going to change someone’s mind in a Facebook argument and you are not going to solve the city’s problems by posting your suggestion in a Facebook group. I’m just saying.
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