Keeping in Touch: Meetings and Communication in an era of Pandemic

When we are trying to do the things of a community in the pandemic predicament, Communication is important enough to be capitalized. And ironically, this period will make us better and stronger in the long run. I’ve seen this with churches and other organizations as well. I can remember back in the day when it was a Big Deal that a religious congregation managed to make a conference call so that shut-in folks would be able to hear some of the music and a sermon. Now we are in an era when we are figuring out how to do an entire religious service, a board meeting, a city council meeting, or even a happy hour through some shared means such as YouTube or Zoom. And this is something that will continue when things return to “normal” — whatever that may be.

So let me share a few things about communication, in the narrow context of how to participate in our Forest Park Civic Association meetings, but likely applicable to all kinds of things in our 21st Century world.

Where do I get the news — and not “fake news” — or just the end of the “telephone game,” where the message gets transformed as it goes from ear to ear to ear …  ?

At FPCA, you want to check the web site, https://www.fpcivic.org/

Don’t look to Facebook first (in anything!) At Facebook we are not the customer: we are the product being sold. Facebook’s secondary business is in capturing eyeballs (to sell stuff). Facebook’s primary business is in capturing information about the persons associated with those eyeballs, so that they can sell us, and make even more profit. They can even glean this information when you are not on their site (or Ap), through persistent sign-in, buried links, beacons, aggregation of information from other sources. (“Big Brother” is not the IRS, or even the NSA; it’s Facebook, Google, other mega tech corporations.)

Now it is possible  to use Facebook somewhat to get our message out. (We syndicate a link to many posts from our web site to our official Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/fpcivic/ .) But be wary of anything on such a secondary source. Whether it’s the FPCA, the Columbus Dispatch, a governmental agency, or anything else; check the original if you have any doubts. (Likewise, if you ever get a “message purporting to be from me, your pastor, imam, doctor, etc., telling you to buy gift cards and send info … it’s just another lower level scam trying to make profit at your expense!)

Another new phenomenon in our current tech world is “zoom bombing” or similar. An ill-intending party gets hold of a meeting link, and either infiltrates the meeting to disrupt it — OR lurks in the meeting seeking to glean personal information (including on chats) to use for identity theft, harassment, or other nefarious purpose. For this reason we will not publicly post a link to our meeting, and ask you please do not post any meeting link on any social media! (There might be a time in the future when we can “broadcast” our meetings … on Youtube or the like. This is less risky, as it exposes only what is seen “in the room” in a unidirectional manner – like traditional TV.)

So, for some concrete suggestions on how to participate in our meetings (and generally keep in touch) at FPCA.

  1. Join Forest Park Civic Association   Before we start any list, this is the prerequisite. Don’t be Freddie Freeloader. Be one of us!  This will take care of getting you on our email list, so you receive the meeting link when it is available. Mission accomplished. (Please do not post any meeting link on any social media!)
  2. Should you be a member and not be on the list (change email, etc.), contact Mr. Dave Paul. He will gladly update your email address for the contact list (technically a “listserv”). But remember, Dave is a volunteer, and a busy guy, so get in touch with him promptly, and be patient, if you need a change: dwpaul@fpcivic.org .
  3. If you have procrastinated, or it is otherwise closer to a meeting date, contact your Area Representative or an FPCA officer for a link. Don’t wait to the last minute, and use the email addresses on the Contact FPCA page. This is a good opportunity to check out which Area you are in, and connect to your Area Rep., through the Forest Park East and West Maps! (Texts to random phone numbers, comments on unrelated web site articles, screaming at the postal carrier are not effective strategies.)
  4. Subscribe on the web site for things posted at the official source as well. (Things don’t get algorithmed down there because we refuse to pay Facebook! Anyone who has tried to promote their small business knows about this)
  5. Did I say, Please do not post any meeting link on any social media!

It’s so good to be sharing a place we can all call HOME.

Your president, Scott Prigan.