Rob Collins

Rob Collins, editor of The Norman Transcript.

I like to call Facebook antisocial media.

Sure, I post updates and comments on Facebook like everyone else, but this social media network isn’t all smiley face emoji and cat memes. It can bring out the worst in the human race at times, especially during election season.

Facebook is great for promoting events, high school reunions and keeping in touch with long-lost friends. Far too often, however, it devolves into an echo chamber for partisans looking to validate their worldview. Or to put the other side on blast, with the harshest, most extreme drumbeat drowning out the alienated majority.

When I started working as editor at my hometown newspaper in 2012, the Enid News & Eagle operated an online forum with some pretty nasty reader comments. We were really concerned with anonymous, personal attacks there and thought things would improve greatly by migrating to Facebook.

Boy, were we wrong. Commenters are just as nasty on Facebook when they use their actual name and photo, and that toxic wave is spreading.

In 2020, I’m amazed at some of the posts I see on Facebook. And I’m disheartened by the name-calling and strident attacks between casual acquaintances and even family members. Like I said, it’s antisocial to treat so-called friends that way.

This personal column is written on The Transcript’s Opinion page. We hope this open forum will rise above character assassination and offer a free-flowing, civil debate of ideas.

We’ll allow an issue-oriented discussion of diverse views, but we won’t publish insensitive attacks against race, religion, gender or sexual orientation.

With the police funding debate, COVID-19 and the upcoming election colliding, political rancor is peaking. I’d much rather read respectful expressions of opinion in this well-behaved forum than the antisocial antics of Facebook.

You won’t agree with everything printed on this page. Recently, one welcoming reader emailed about interest in renewing a subscription to The Transcript, only to change course abruptly after disagreeing with a conservative political cartoon Friday. I bet that reader would have preferred the more liberal cartoon that published in the next issue.

We get it from the left and right simultaneously. Another pro-police reader recently wondered why we don’t run more columns defending Republicans. The next day, we published a personal column about the war against conservatives, which elicited positive and negative responses, as you might expect.

If you totally agree with everything you read, that would be extremely boring. I encourage you to peruse the eclectic columns and editorials published in The Transcript. We’ll keep the civil discourse robust, honest and constructive to move the conversation forward.

Collins can be reached at editor@normantranscript.com.

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