It’s an invite anyone who has ever worked in a large organization cringes when they see: the company-wide Town Hall. Leadership will hold a webcast, all will gather, and polished speeches about quarterly results and skirting any mention of layoffs with coded language like “finding synergies” will be shared.
But in Facebook’s new world, following an election where many blamed the outcome on the rise of “fake news” and with some of the companies under their umbrella, namely WhatsApp, coming under fire for aiding terrorist efforts, Town Hall will mean something very different. For all those asking the question “How do I get involved?” the answer is just a few short clicks away.
From facebook.com/townhall Facebook will provide you with a list of your state and local representatives, and you can call, message, email and go to the Facebook Page of each representative listed. Messages are sent through Facebook Messenger. Furthermore, the feature is integrated into the Facebook News Feed. If you choose to like or comment on a post by one of your local representatives, you’ll see a way to contact your representative after the post.
This modern accessibility of everyday Americans to their elected officials absolutely shortens the degrees of separation (why take the time to snail mail your Congressperson anymore?) and many folks who have never been involved in politics may have valuable input to share with their representatives. But it also makes me wonder – when you consider how much of your Facebook Newsfeed is currently a series of (often misinformed) rants, how valuable will the majority of feedback be to elected officials? Will worthwhile ideas be shared, or will it mostly be a flood of curse-filled insults, with the occasional potentially dangerous threat? It seems that their staff will need to change to accommodate this new, and for some officials’, constant flow of information, but I can only hope a positive flow of ideas will be shared from constituents eager to participate.