Our View: Let’s hit the refresh button
Hey, you, fake tough guy — you kiss your mother with that mouth?
Yeah, you. You know what you did. You created a phony Facebook profile, calling yourself Super Dave Osborne, and then went on the Vail Daily’s website and wrote unspeakable things about Avon’s mayor in the comments section of a letter, all because you disagreed with her public vote on the controversial Hahnewald barn relocation.
You’ve been 86ed from ever posting on the Vail Daily again, but not before degrading a local elected official and making her look up a word on the internet that she wishes she never saw.
The mayor, in an email to the Vail Daily, wrote: “To allow comments like that to remain on your website is … I don’t even know what to call it.”
Here’s what we’ll call it: Shameful. Disrespectful. Disappointing.
And here’s why: Is this really what we want the discourse to be like here in our beautiful valley? Is this how we want to talk to each other?
It’s not just the trolls — all verified Facebook accounts — who continue to pop up in the comments section of stories, letters and columns on the Vail Daily website.
Have you been on Eagle County Classifieds lately? Or Twitter?
Too often, simple arguments about even the silliest things devolve into profane name-calling and ad-hominem attacks.
It’s symptomatic of the ugliness of our national political discourse, but that doesn’t make it OK.
As the source of community news in this valley, it’s our top priority to foster engagement. We want to shape the conversation around important issues and we welcome a diversity of opinions. The last thing we want to do is stifle discussion or be an echo chamber
We’re also well aware that the internet is a shame machine, and that it’s naive to think that trolls won’t migrate to our little corner of the web here in Happy Valley.
But a Facebook user telling another on the Vail Daily’s page to “f— your s—stain of a president” … well that’s not exactly in line with our mission statement of “Bringing Communities Together.”
We bring this up during a week where the local school district and the hospital are challenging students and community members to take a five-day break from social media and video games.
The Disconnect to Reconnect challenge stems from some alarming trends when it comes to technology overuse and the correlation between social media and the rise of ADHD, depression, apathy and anxiety among our kids.
Maybe most alarming is this: In her book “How to Break Up with Your Phone,” researcher and author Catherine Price writes that, “On Average, Americans spend more than four hours a day on their phones. That amounts to about 28 hours a week, 112 hours a month, or 56 full days a year.”
No wonder we’re all screaming over each other on social media. It’s because we’re not actually talking to each other.
If this is you, well, maybe this week’s challenge is a good place to start. The next time you want to attack someone on social media who you’ve never met, ask yourself: Would you say the same thing to that person if you were standing in line at Starbucks together? Or riding up the lift together?
We can all do better. Don’t feed the trolls. Call out baseless, offensive attacks when you see them. And, if nothing else, put down your phone the next time you want to spout off on Facebook. We’ll all be better for it.
The Vail Daily Editorial Board is Publisher Mark Wurzer, Editor Nate Peterson, Assistant Editor Ross Leonhart, Director of Special Projects Ed Stoner, Business Editor Scott Miller, Eagle Valley Enterprise Editor Pam Boyd and Advertising Director Holli Snyder.
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