By David Izraelevitz
For someone who’s been using the internet since 1981, I sure keep underestimating its power. When Facebook first emerged, I thought of it as a gimmick for kids to share embarrassing pictures and annoy each other. Eventually, I realized that it was an emerging social medium that had been embraced by the under 30-crowd, and now I am convinced that it is a force for good that will spread democracy across the world. Well maybe not, but it is pretty neat.
I set up my first Facebook account some time ago, but it was for Louie, our cat. At the time, I was the webmaster for the Jewish Center and asked a young congregant whether we should have a Facebook link to entice that attractive demographic, the 20 to 30 year-old Jew. She immediately set up a page, and said I should join it to see what it was like.
I did not want to share my favorite TV show, much less my romantic status, but Louie was very forward with his profile. Political affiliation: Demo-cat. Favorite Artist: Cat Stevens. Likes: Mice, they taste like chicken. He also sleeps in the nude and is into heavy petting, but after some consideration, we decided such detail was “TMI” as the Internet cognoscenti say.
That was my sole Facebook experience for a few years, until after reading about how Facebook had helped organize protests across the Arab world, I wondered whether it could also have a less heroic role in knitting a local community together, even in a place like Los Alamos, where you only have to go to Smith’s to find your closest 100 friends.
This was the genesis of the Facebook group, “Los Alamos Vision 2020.” I wanted a forum for people to share their dreams about what Los Alamos could be like if we worked together toward a common goal. I was especially proud of the Vision/2020 pun. I subsequently learned that there was already a Vision 2020 here in Los Alamos, started fourteen years ago. It is still a great pun, just no longer original.
In about a month, the group has grown to over 350 members, exchanging ideas about how to support our local businesses, information about upcoming County meetings of importance to the community, initiatives such as the community broadband network, places to purchase items that some thought were not available here, types of new businesses we would like in town, new business announcements, all sorts of ways that we can support and enhance our community.
We had a civil and informative exchange about two controversial topics that divided our community, the Trinity site redevelopment, and the Trinity Drive upgrades, and I look forward to more discussions about many other topics.
We are still figuring out how to best use the power of communication and information that Facebook provides, but I’ve become a believer, and following Facebook etiquette, I have posted an embarrassing picture of myself. My sleeping habits, however, are strictly confidential.
You can join the Los Alamos Vision 2020 Facebook group at: