Tuesday, 6 August 2013

Tecoma McDonalds - Community Conflict and the Internet

An interesting thing that I noticed today was about the infamous Tecoma McDonalds that you have undoubtedly heard about. McDonalds wish to build an outlet in Tecoma - a small town nestled in the foothills of the Dandenong ranges. There have been numerous very vocal protests against the Macdonalds proposal. Often in community arguments like this there is a very vocal minority who is against, a majority who couldn't really care either way and a minority that supports it, but is too apathetic to bother fighting such a passionate crowd.

But then, along comes the Internet. The Internet allows the apathetic group the ability to tell people how they think without getting into a potential physical or verbal confrontation. It is a lot easier to sit at your keyboard, with all the comforts of home, than to walk down the street carrying a placard - those placards can be heavy after a couple of hours.

Now I don’t live in Tecoma and I really know nothing about the debate, I just think it is interesting the way the Internet has changed the nature of this sort of conflict.

There is also a dark side to this, with disinterested pretending to be interested for the sake of trolling. These very vocal minorities are very easy to tease and to troll. It raises the question is a conflict on the Internet a real conflict or a troll? Also does the Internet increase how divided such arguments make communities or lessen it?

We live in interesting times.

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