LO Chatroom: Chatty or Catty?

One of the advantages of living in the United States is the ability to express ourselves unabashedly – it’s called Freedom of Speech and it is guaranteed in the Constitution. As we have seen over the years, people are not reluctant to voice their opinion, whether it is about politics, movies, restaurants, TV shows, sports, grocery chains, or school. There are numerous outlets for our opinions including “letters to the editor” in newspapers, radio call-in shows, protest marches, and of course, community chat rooms.

Speaking of community chat rooms, it seems that most cities, villages or townships have a chat room where residents can ask about a certain service they may be searching for or just use the chat room to alert people to some upcoming community events or road transportation changes. In that regard, it can be a valuable outlet.

Most chat rooms have rules for participation, such as informing potential chatters that the “group is for memories, things that are happening in the community, to help others, and to get suggestions for services. It is not the place for arguments and drama.” Seems pretty straight forward and clear. Unfortunately, for whatever reason, a chat room in Lake Orion seems to have been overtaken by a group of angry, malcontent, apoplectic residents.

If a potential resident of Lake Orion, or even those who are looking for a good place to eat or to service their automobile or for some home improvement project would read some of the comments in the Lake Orion Chat Room, those people would not relocate to Lake Orion and current residents would dine outside of town or seek a service from a company in another community.

Many of the comments do a disservice to loyal business that have been in the community for years. Heck, currently there are two businesses, both restaurants, that are reeling from bad reviews and have seen a marked decline in customers because of injurious comments that may or may not have been factual. Few, if any, participants in the chat room are professional reviewers – just people who in some cases have an ax to grind. And who is to say that some are not owners or employees of competing businesses that just want to criticize their competition.

Upon reading the comments in the chat room one should avoid most sit down restaurants or the fast food establishments – most auto service stores – several supermarkets – many gas stations – and one or two malls in the area. It’s time for some of the blowhards in the community to temper their comments and instead share with everyone all of the positive issues going on in the Lake Orion community, which are many.

Based on comments in the chat room perhaps the entrance signs to Lake Orion should be changed to “Where Living Is Hellacious.” Numerous people I have talked to agree that the chat room is out of control and has become an embarrassment. Hopefully, the administrator will step in and short circuit some of the outlandish comments.

Coincidentally, I am involved in a chat room from my home town in Kansas. Residents exchange comments about their chickens, perhaps an ailing cow, their children or the next bazaar at the local church – nothing hurtful or critical about local establishments. That’s my idea of a community chat room.

Now I’m off to lunch at a local restaurant which shall remain unnamed.

Bill Kalmar

Lake Orion resident



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