There goes the neighbourhood
The digital age has put an end to a life of isolation behind high suburban walls
People are selling their wares, jostling for your attention and touting jousting sticks and overhead projectors at a great price. Over there, in the thick of the mud, is the town crier — shouting the odds, with X-rated language about some politician. A crowd is gathering around him, too: some cheering, some booing. The old fishmonger is getting some suspect advice on property valuations from two ladies who live up his street. And someone is freaking out about two men strolling past his house. Ah, Facebook neighbourhood groups. They’re the modern equivalent of the medieval town square, only with an unsettlingly high proportion of village idiots. A speakers’ corner that gives voice to the paranoid, the narrow-minded, the not-so-smart and the overzealous. Well, certainly that’s what happens when these digital domains aren’t moderated properly. It’s like watching a car summersault across a highway: you know it isn’t going to end well, but you can’t stop watching. For example, on the Fac...