|Tue, Sep 02, 2014 10:00 AM
March 12, 2014 | 09:22 AM
Live Wire. Those two words provoke either a "Love it" or "Hate it" response. There isn't much middle ground.
For those of you unfamiliar with Live Wire, that's the name of the anonymous call-in section of this newspaper. It was started many years ago as a way for readers to make comments about nearly any subject.
The newspaper staff had hoped it would generate news tips, which it has. We thought it would be a way for people to leave positive comments about others or businesses. And while it has been used for that, those types of calls tend to happen less and less.
Mostly, people use it to make snide remarks about anything and anyone under the sun, leaving us to sort out what's true or, at least, is the opinion of the caller.
Have you ever made an anonymous call to Live Wire?
Don't misunderstand. We welcome the opinions of our readers. That's why Live Wire starts on the Opinions page. However, some callers will state their message so it sounds like fact when it's not. And, unless we know that what they're saying is true, that comment isn't going to make the cut.
Oh, yes, there are plenty of calls that don't get published for that reason, as well as others.
Some people also don't adhere to the "be brief and less than one minute" instruction that is printed at the top of the Live Wire comments each week. By keeping comments brief, more callers can have their opinions published each week.
And because calls are printed in the order they are received, we've had comments that have been held as many as two or three weeks before there was space to run them. Some were timely in nature and, therefore, came out after an event.
We have our frequent callers — you know who you are and, in some instances, we do, too — who apparently like to call just to stir things up or to see their comments in print.
Have any of you thought about how Live Wire reflects our community?
A few weeks ago, while at a workshop, one attendee told someone that they should watch what they say or they would wind up in Live Wire. Not being from the area, they were quickly educated about the call-in section. For the next few minutes, Live Wire became the topic of conversation rather than what we were there for. At least one person said they don't read that section of the paper.
I've been told by others that they don't read Live Wire. I also know of some who read it for the "entertainment" value. But, to those on the receiving end of a negative comment that the caller would most likely never say to their face, how is that entertaining?
When there is a problem with an employee or business, hopefully, you try going to the source first to make them aware of the situation. Often, the ones callers are complaining about don't know there's a problem. How can there be a resolution without that knowledge?
Matthew West's new song, "Do Something," is getting a lot of play time on the radio lately. While the message of the song is about more serious things, such as poverty and slavery, the lyrics can be applied to anything that you think needs changing:
So, I shook my fist at Heaven
Said, "God, why don't You do something?"
He said, "I did. I created you."
If not us, then who?
If not me and you
Right now, it's time for us to do something.
During the past few weeks, Judy O'Bannon and I have been asking for input from members of the community about how they'd like Harrison County to look in the future and what would it take to attract — and keep — residents.
I'd like to suggest that less negativity could help us with the image that Harrison County is a friendly place to live, which it truly is. So, let's see how many positive comments — whether they be directed to a specific person or business or to an unknown person or group — we can get in the Live Wire section in the next few weeks.
Perhaps knowing your name is in Live Wire will become welcomed news rather than something that instills fear.