Social media is shitshow. Formerly respected news agencies are all over whatever flavor of the day story every other news agency is all over. The comments sections are full of insane arguments, strangers blasting strangers in endless comment battles.
Out of all this I’ve found one bright and shining beacon. A place where facts are dispensed in a polite and respectful manner. A place where please and thank you are the norm and not the exception.
The Facebook Snake Identification Group is my new favorite place on the internet. Weird right? I’ve never been all that interested in snakes, but recently I found what turned out to be a young Boa Constrictor on my boat and joined the group to have the intruder identified. To my pleasant surprise, a fellow identified my snake in minutes, I thanked him and then the moderators closed the thread. I was stunned at what I saw. There was no dissent, no arguments, no discussion. I had my answer. But this isn’t how Facebook works! I was addicted and I’ve since become a fan of some of the snake experts in the group. Most of the photos posted are quickly identified and labeled as venomous and dangerous or nonvenomous and harmless, mildly venomous and not dangerous to humans… But sometimes a photo of a particularly exotic snake will be posted, one that’s difficult to identify. Those are my favorite. Usually what happens is one of the regular contributors will identify the genus and tag other experts who have more knowledge of that type of snake. Inevitably, one of those experts chimes in with the exact species. Then the thread is closed. How can this be happening on Facebook! This is exactly what I need out of the internet, but how do I find more of this?
Yesterday I found a bug on my boat. Is this a baby cockroach I wondered? It was the perfect opportunity to join another group! After I was accepted to the bug identification group I scrolled through the posts, excited to see yet another bastion of polite and respectful discourse. What I found was completely disappointing. Lame spider jokes, misidentification, arguments. I left the group feeling disgusted. If I want crazy drunken arguments I can go to the pub and get in one anytime! At least I have my snake group.