Wednesday 14 October 2009

Forget Facebook and Twitter...get a soapbox

Essex Chronicle editor Alan Geere has expanded the social networking of his paper without using fashionable Facebook or trendy Twitter.
Instead he's taken a soapbox and pitched up in Chelmsford High Street on a Saturday morning to give the public a chance to air their views free of any editing or interference.
Geere said himself from the soapbox: “Forget your Facebook and toss your Twitter, now is the chance for everyone to talk directly to your audience.”
He says: "We heard why the troops should be pulled out of Afghanistan, why Stansted should not be developed and why the bible is right or wrong depending on your viewpoint. But what was most striking was not just the people talking, but also the people listening.The crowd ebbed and flowed during the two-hour session.
"Some heckled, some tried to argue but most simply listened in a respectful and admiring silence. All were grateful for the opportunity afforded simply to be part of our democratic exercise. "
Geere promises more to come. "We plan to make this a fixture on the town calendar. We are working with the Borough Council to find a more permanent home and once we do there will be regular soapbox sessions, featuring the great and good of our community. We’ll invite MPs, community leaders, church and faith organisations, pressure groups and readers."

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