Starting Monday, readers who want to comment on Courier News stories will have to do so through Facebook, meaning they would first have to initiate an FB account.
As Vice President/News Hollis R. Towns explains, the change is necessary to deter the "idiots, racists, perverts and downright cruel people" who hijacked online conversations about even the most sensitive stories.
Setting up a Facebook account is indeed simple, as Towns states. It is the upkeep that makes it a bit daunting for those who have never tried social media - the pressure to keep adding "friends," dealing with requests from "friends," even fending off long-lost people in one's life who now want to be "friends."
I set up an account at my daughter's behest, but then she quit over some tactic Facebook employed. She later rejoined, by which time I was hooked on using Facebook to keep in touch or at least keep tabs on old colleagues from the newsroom (and some newer Gannettoids who became former employees in the big wave of layoffs).
A friend told me that her son recently declared Facebook was only for "old people," as his tween friends had adopted other social media as more acceptable. If indeed several thousand newspaper readers - an older demographic - join Facebook, what's in it for Zuckerberg? Will Facebook indeed get the rep that some pin on AOL, unhip and over with?
There is more to this proposal than meets the eye in another way, as these Facebook legal terms indicate.
It is just not the same as making up a name and password for comments.
So have the "idiots, racists, perverts and downright cruel people" forced other prospective commenters into uncharted waters or will Facebook restore decorum into commenting? By early 2012, maybe we'll see.