Saint John — When Facebook temporarily went offline yesterday, millions in ad revenue was lost, hundreds of news media companies became disconnected from their audience, and dozens of New Brunswickers were prevented from posting nasty comments on the latest Manatee article.
Sixty-four-year-old St. Thomas University professor Owen Lauchman, for example, said that the outage deprived him of a valued daily ritual.
“Every morning I get up, get dressed, pour my coffee, then head to The Manatee page,” he explained. “I skim the latest story, head to the comments — then, the magic happens.”
Lauchman described his writing process as “measured.”
“Sometimes I meditate on my word choice for several minutes,” he said. “I can sometimes spend a half-hour on a single comment.”
This proved to be true as Lauchman composed a brief comment on a recent article about gun control. He sat with it a considerable time, thoughtfully making small edits and shifting words around. Finally, it read as follows:
“This isnt even a little funny!I did nt laugh ONCE! Anybody who thinks its O.K. to chuckle at pain & sadness of others should CUT THEY’RE THROAT open with a butCHER knife, then see who thinks this is an OK thing 2 write about!!!?!”
He gave a small nod.
“Perfect,” he whispered.
He did admit that he will actually like the occasional article posted to the site.
“Sometimes, sure,” he said. “In those situations, I tend to write something like, ‘I thought this was a satire site,’ implying, of course, that their humour is so accurate that they are basically just reporting the news. Although this is rare, let me assure you. The vast majority of what they write misses the mark entirely.”
Now that the social media service has been restored, does Lauchman look forward to seeing how The Manatee will cover the story? Does he believe they will be able to come up with a funny angle?
“No,” he said, assuredly. “Too soon.”