North Vent Facebook forum, used under Fair Comment
and Criticism, blog post by John Hoff
KARE and a number of other local media did stories about a minor episode on North Vent Facebook forum regarding a confrontation between a black citizen and a white citizen, the white citizen armed with a gun and suspicious about a guy in a parked car, the black guy in the car concerned about racial profiling.
Words were exchanged. A cell phone was whipped out to record video. A verbal warning was given and a firearm displayed, though not pointed. Both participants in the drama called 911 to complain about the other guy.
Then the whole thing went viral on social media...
The black citizen joined North Vent Facebook forum and, moments after joining, posted video of the confrontation. The white guy was never a member of North Vent and is still not a member. A red hot Facebook discussion took place with people taking sides and speculating. That's what people do on North Vent, but the story about the video--entitled something like "He tried to Trayvon Martin me"--was taken up by the mass media.
At least one media entity got the story dead wrong and backwards, making it sound like it was the white dude with the gun who posted the video and not the other way around. The general theme of all the mass media stories was along the lines of OH MY GOD THEY ARE TAKING THIS "NORTH VENT" SOCIAL MEDIA CRIME FIGHTING TO FAR IN NORTH MINNEAPOLIS! SOMEBODY COULD GET KILLED!
Not a single one of those media entities followed up with the amazing "Kumbaya" ending to the story. You see, the two men involved in the confrontation sat down together and apparently broke bread with police intermediaries present. I recognize the setting in the photo as The Lowry Cafe.
Naturally, the few thousand participants in North Vent (my social media replacement when I retire!) already know the ending to this story. But blogs are crawled by search engines in a different way than Facebook forums. This is my biggest concern about a Facebook forum taking the lead on social media in our neighborhood...that insular aspect which doesn't reach out to search engines and doesn't create a convenient historical archive.
But does it matter? What matters is our neighborhood gets better, and historians, well, they'll have to find their archive information where they find it, even if it's not as convenient.
Undoubtedly, North Vent is making our neighborhood better. And if a picture like the one above doesn't convince you, well, nothing will.
Oh, yes, almost forgot.
Video embeds of the song "Kumbaya."