Wednesday, November 02, 2016

A little local good news

The other day we were running an errand, and on the way there we saw something nice. Later that evening, I shared it (picture above) on the page for the Facebook Group for the neighbourhood the story happened in. And that taught me some things about good news.

The story struck a chord with people: Last time I checked, it had 537 “reactions” (“Like”, “Love”, etc.), all of them positive, along with a couple dozen positive comments. What I found interesting about that is that people were clearly appreciative of seeing some good news.

People on social media can be intensely negative, as we’ve all seen many times. The news often carries stories that are either negative or just bad news, and often to the exclusion of positive or good news, or even the positive or good sides of otherwise negative or bad news.

I’ve blogged about all that several times, and have made a point of sharing good news—and every time I do, those posts are among my least read. So, knowing that, and the very positive reaction to a little feel-good story I shared on Facebook, I’m beginning to think that what people actually want is good news that’s local.

To be sure, we’ve all grown cynical about news reporting: We may think it’s biased, or that we’re being manipulated, or even that we’re being lied to. So, it could be that we start out with an unwillingness to accept good news at face value.

Or, maybe we’re all too used to tuning out when reading good news that just doesn’t concern us, as well as ignoring any sharing of the previously unreported good or positive aspect of a story we’ve already heard. When it’s local, especially in our own community, maybe that matters a little more. Maybe it also helps that the subjects of the story I shared weren’t anyone well-known (or political officials…), just ordinary people doing ordinary, but good, things. It’s also relevant that the story was about local kids doing the good and right thing without prompting; that was probably bound to be popular.

I wish people wouldn’t be so intensely negative on social media. I wish the news didn’t carry mainly stories that are either negative or bad news to the exclusion of positive or good news, or even just ignoring the positive or good sides of otherwise negative or bad news. But maybe sharing local good news stories more often might just help people to start being more receptive to seeing other good news stories, too. Maybe.

In any case, I just thought it was a nice story of local kids doing the good and right thing, and I wanted to share it. I think that sharing a little good news is a good thing to do, too. We all need it sometimes.

Footnote: The Facebook group is public, but my personal Facebook isn’t, so I shared the exact same thing on both, moments apart.

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