The adversarial nature of social media has taken a toll:
As mayor, the release continued, McFarlane has worked to expand public transit, increase affordable housing, update the city’s land-use rules, protect the environment, support small business and entrepreneurs, and “champion the arts.” But within the past year, the eight-person city board has become fractured, with McFarlane increasingly on the minority side.
“We used to fight together for the things we cared about,” she said in a video. “Now it just seems like we fight with each other. The mean politics of Twitter and social media is painful when it’s about you or someone you love. This social disease has exploded since I first ran for city council in 2007. Raleigh politics could use a reset.”
In the 2000's it was the blogosphere where elected officials were chewed on and conspiracy theories flourished, but that effect pales in comparison to Twitter and Facebook of the last decade. In this day and age, city council members are either superheroes or villains, and even the most common-sense projects can get derailed by a poorly thought-out turn of phrase. In theory, this new access to information should have served to reduce mistrust of government, because we now know a hell of a lot more about what's going on. But that just (apparently) gives people more things to question, more fuel for conspiracy fires. I'm on the front lines in this growth war, and things like this make my hair stand on end: