Well, this should be interesting.
Facebook, our key to success through conversation, informed me a few days ago that it is moving Just Wright Citrus from the “classic” page to the “new” page.
It tells me not to worry, that this will be better than what I have now.
So of course I’m terrified.
It didn’t help that I spent my time at Tuesday’s county commission meeting reading this Reddit string about the classic page vs. new page Facebook battle. Basically, everyone hated either version and told horror stories of losing vast amounts of posted material when trying to switch from one to another.
Great. It’s funny, because the one thing I thought I could count on is Facebook stability.
Facebook is the every-person’s system of communication in today’s world. In Citrus County, a place devoid of media other than the daily newspaper, a popular blogger and a smattering of other voices, Facebook is key to getting the word out.
Some people are into Twitter. At Florida Politics, where I’m fortunate to work as a correspondent, tweeting is a very big deal. Statewide politicians and their world tweet several times a day.
We’ve tried Twitter over the years in Citrus County but it’s never really caught on other than here and there. I should do it more often because it really is an easy quick hit of opinion or news. (You can follow me at @wrightcitrus.)
We just simply rely on good ol’ Facebook. Oh, I know Instagram is all the rage and the young'uns are on that Tic-Tac-Toe site, but us conventional Citrus County folk pretty much lock into Facebook.
Now, that said, I’ve run across a lot of people who don’t read Facebook at all. The reasons are varied but they generally boil down to the ugly conversations that take place here, or the pokes-in-the-chest from one political side or the other. Who needs that negativity in their life?
I totally get it. When Facebook first caught on at the Chronicle, I was mesmerized by the comments. It wasn’t long, though, to see normal conversation about an issue blow up into innuendo, name calling, wild accusations and spreading rumors. I’m not knocking the Chronicle. This seemed routine everywhere.
But in order for the Just Wright Citrus concept to work — daily blogs enticing conversation to better our community — we had to make a call about comments.
It became an easy one. We set standards. Not editorial ones, but standards of decency and manners. Basically, if you can’t say it to your spouse, kids or parents, you can’t say it here.
Wow, that got a lot of pushback. Frankly, more than I expected. I knew some people embrace their “right” to rant, but I didn’t expect to have people suggest that insulting others is perfectly normal.
My response is the same: There are plenty of places to do that but not here.
The vast majority of readers comment in a polite, conversational way, and it’s much appreciated. The page is growing daily; not quite 10 months in and we're just shy of 2,400 followers.
You already know most of this. I’m only bringing it up now to show the significance of the Facebook relationship with Just Wright Citrus readers. The blog itself is on the website with my awesome sponsors, but the conversation takes place on Facebook.
So, what should I expect from my “new” Facebook page? Truth is, I haven’t a clue.
Fortunately, I have friends who know this stuff and they have assured me I’ll survive. And no doubt most of you (rightly) think I’m foolish and dim for worrying about it at all.
The big switch happens Wednesday or Thursday. (Tuesday’s Facebook notice said “2 days” at 2 p.m. and “1 day” at 5 p.m.)
C’mon Facebook. Don’t fail me now.
If some of you don’t make it, we’ll send out a search party.
Join the discussion on our Facebook page.
Mike Wright has written about Citrus County government and politics for 36 years.