Canada’s public broadcaster is turning off the comments on its Facebook news posts for one month. And it’s causing a furor. Many people say they should be able to air their comments about stories presented by the public broadcaster.
The CBC says, “It’s one thing for our journalists to deal with toxicity on these platforms. It’s another for our audience members who try to engage with and discuss our journalism to encounter it on platforms such as Facebook and Twitter, where they are almost guaranteed to be confronted by hate, racism and abuse.”
But here is the real news. It is time that all of us addicted to our phones and what other people are saying divert some of our attention to actions that might actually change some of what we don’t like and might convert into action to create something positive in our communities, in our homes and in our neighbourhoods.
One can only imagine what we could accomplish if we each freed up 2.5 hours per day. We could read, learn and study using reliable resources. We could miss out on the diatribes and judgements that people inflict on each other in the form of social media comments.
At 2.5 hours per day, or 912 hours per year, that works out to 22 40-hour weeks that you spend looking at pictures of what other people were doing when they weren’t staring at social media posts to see what you might be doing.
Remember that you read it here first. Future generations will be studying us and they will wonder why we did not notice how ridiculous we have become.
We have had to turn down the heat on more than one occasion on our social media platform.
Here are subjects that we know create debate that can spiral out of control quickly: farming, trees, meat, land, dairy products, the food bank, the pandemic, COVID-19, street-paving, anything about animals, social services, government funding, grants, taxes, internet speed, internet service, education, schools, health care, the ER, and yes, the media.
Sometimes, we feel that everyone is fed up with just about everything.
We have lost something along the way to this world of instant personal expression. We don’t think things through (imagine having to sleep on what you want to say before you post it?).
And despite the certainty with which thousands make their declarations, a paltry number of us will never seek political office or talk to our neighbours about forming a group to bring about positive change. Few of us will assemble our thoughts and present a workable solution to municipal councillors, our MP or MPP or to anyone, for that matter. Why ever would one do that much work when a rapid rant is at your fingertips?
Really. We can all do so much better.
Unhappy with the CBC? Put a pen to paper and assemble your thoughts. Gather your arguments and compile them in an email.
The toxicity that can come from nowhere may prove to be the undoing of social media, overshadowing the value of connection.
Really. We can all do so much better.
What could you accomplish in 22 weeks?

– By Louise Sproule