THERE has been plenty of discussion about the positives and negatives of social media.
As the manager of Facebook group Cockburn Chat, Lara Kirkwood has experienced both sides in their most extreme.
Ms Kirkwood set up Cockburn Chat in May 2014.
In that time more than 8500 people have joined, making the page Cockburn’s most popular social media forum.
“I’d seen other local pages and thought it would provide an opportunity for the community to talk,” Ms Kirkwood said. “Being a group, it allows people to comment as themselves. It’s social.”
Posted are a wide variety of comments and queries – from people needing advice, tips for cheap services, traffic information, funny pictures and everything in between.
The strongest evidence confirming its relevance to people at a local level probably comes from the question posed most often:
Where is a good local fish and chip shop?
“It’s a great feeling and I’m really proud to see so many people using the group,” Ms Kirkwood said.
“The people that use it make it everything that it is – there’s some real characters and it’s helped a lot of people.”
But it has not been all smooth sailing.
Ms Kirkwood said she had received threats and messages from disgruntled users are common.
She said she had learnt plenty managing the group.
“People don’t always think before they type because they’re not commenting to your face,” she said.
“Some of the comments are really hurtful… but the good outweighs the bad.”