unWelcome To The Neighborhood

An invite to join a private, online social network exclusive to the neighborhood. Sincere gesture or scam in the making? Sadly, we have to ask these questions for our own peace of mind.

In an era of an uncertain world, a palpable act of kindness doesn’t come across as genuine at all. Rather, there are ascending levels of suspicion, and it is an attribute that I am not particularly fond of. A simple “hello” conjures an immediate feeling of interrogation as suspicions rise why the “hello” from a stranger was provoked. I’m not proud that I feel this way, but an outspoken society leaves me no other choice.

Rewind back to a time where passerbys would acknowledge one another with just a tip of the hat or a friendly glance. Discussions of current events were limited to those you met face to face. Even if there were a disagreement, you can remain neutral or possibly win the argument without referring to someone as a “troll.” People didn’t have to worry about getting robbed because they placed an obituary in the newspaper which publicize real names and when and where the funeral would take place. There was a time where people had no hidden agenda. In today’s world, everyone has an agenda to some degree, some are more obvious about it than others. Some skillfully hide their flagitious motives through the guise of great concern. The sad reality is that nothing can be taken at face value. If you do, you’ll end up getting hurt.

I received a post the other day about a private, online network exclusive to my neighborhood. My initial reaction was to deny it immediately, but then I gave it a second thought. I thought this would be a wonderful way to connect with neighbors and post information about my pets in the event they get lost. I was in the middle of completing my online profile when something drove me to check out the profile of the site’s administrator. When I checked, there was a profile photo (a young man) but he revealed no other information about himself, except to mention that he’s been a resident of the neighborhood since 2015. Something about the lack of transparency irked me, so I deleted my account immediately. I want to feel bad for the guy, as he was probably only trying to turn the neighborhood into a miniature Stars Hollow, trying to connect people in a way that would never have been annexed otherwise. Perhaps his heart was in the right place, but his thought process and execution, was not.

I have often thought that millennials and younger generations were the rudest brood on this planet. The tipping of the hat turned into a hackneyed practice of acknowledgement i.e. the Facebook “Like” button. I still find staring at the phone without addressing the pleasantries derisive (or mayhem, whatever the case may be) on occasion. On the contrary, given the current mindset of today’s era, perhaps it’s a good thing to limit the interactions by sticking to who and what you know.

I want to believe that the site administrator is really a nice guy, but that’s how most scams and other obscurities start out. In today’s world, you have to be ascetic for protection. The moral of this story is: if you sincerely want to collaborate with your neighbors, make sure you are well known in the neighborhood, and/or  at least have a complete online profile. The person who sent the post was good-looking, but his mama should have told him: you can’t get through this life on good looks alone.



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