Social Media

I am without internet for the unforeseeable future, although I can access FB thru my phone. I can take a peek at this site, but it's too difficult to respond to anything. Likewise I can get to my Goodreads account, but it's difficult to do anything while I'm there. If you do the FB thing, friend me. I'm seeing Scommber, who used to post here, Bob Waldrop, and Sharon Astyck most every day, and a plethora of SF/F writers and groups. And I do have a couple of Greer people on my Goodreads list.

And most anything I post here is curated (stolen) from FB. Just look for the Goat Girl.

There's a lot to be said--pro and con--about FB, but for community building it's been a Godsend these last six weeks. I've been living at the same address for 26 years, and while the place leaves a lot to be desired, it was still my place and my life was organized around the location. But the neighborhood has changed drastically. June 23-24, I had a stray bullet come thru my back door at 2 am. Ripped up a coat hanging on the coat rack, shattered a bowl on top of the microwave, and considerably unsettled my mind. We had a shooting war throughout the neighborhood for about four weeks, and our neighborhood FB group was all over it: "Shots fired; did anyone else hear them? Where are you located? Anyone injured? Police are on the street."

And then my landlord sold the building out from under us to an out-of-state buyer: collected our July rent the last weekend in June, left the closing at 2 pm on July 2, had his name removed from all of the utilities, and didn't bother to tell the new owner or his property management company that utilities were a part of our rent. So the electricity went off at 3 pm, the dumpster was picked up on July 3, we got thru the 4th without anyone being shot, then the water was shut off on the 5th. Throughout this madness, people in our FB neighborhood group were fighting for us. A couple people I knew from political pages, but most were total strangers. They sent the cops and code enforcement to help us out and contacted our city council reps. The electricity and the water were both turned back on by suppertime. It took a month to reestablish garbage pickup, but we finally got our dumpster back last week. Then July 25, the gas was turned off, and it was two weeks of cold showers and heating dish water in the Crockpot before we got that fixed.

I originally ignored the invitation to join the FB neighborhood group. I live on the every edge of the district and have had little contact with the businesses and civic groups in the area. But I quickly became active online, and they have directed me to two meetings in the last week: one was a meet and greet with code enforcement officers last week and the second was a 2-fer last night: first, a tense neighborhood meeting with the police officers who cover our area, followed by an informative meeting on grant money for neighborhood improvement. So I am now putting faces with the names I am seeing online.

There has been a lot of back and forth online about what kind of programs we need to turn around the young people in the neighborhood--because it's teens and young adults (mostly male) who have been acting out. I expect there will be a lot more conversations. One of the most encouraging things going on across the city have been the rise of urban farms and markets. These have been youth/young adult programs, and it might be something we can pursue here. There was a brief interest in establishing a 4H program in the neighborhood, and I think we ought to revisit that.

We won't always have FB and internet, but right now they are powerful tools for community building.