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COLUMN: Local satire page has folks up in arms

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Severo Avila

Severo Avila is Features Editor at the Rome News-Tribune.

Pardon me if I’m late to the game on this one, but I just recently learned of a local Facebook page that’s got a lot of folks in Rome and Floyd County talking.

The page is called “City of Rome, GA & Floyd County” but it’s not at all affiliated with the city or county government. It uses an image of the county’s seal as its profile picture so it LOOKS legit, but whoever manages the page has added two red horns to the image.

It’s a satire page. Its intent is to entertain and to use humor to spoof and make light of local issues and current events. Many other cities, including Atlanta, have similar pages that spoof local life or local government.

But it’s got some folks up in arms.

One of the reasons for that is because some people don’t bother to stop and consider its content and take it at face value as something coming directly from the city or county government. If they’d bother to click the “ABOUT” link on the page, they’d see that it clearly states:

“Not affiliated with any Government agency. This page is completely satirical. If you believe this page to be real, your a moran.”

The page’s content ranges from simple tips and precautions for community residents to memes and photos. Here are just a few posts. It’s obvious that many words are intentionally misspelled and phrases intentionally misused. But there are some who don’t realize the page is a satire page and are appalled by all the grammatical and spelling errors (which makes them even funnier)...

“SPECIAL MASSAGE FROM PUBLIC SAFETY: It’s Valentine’s Day. When your out tonight and you see your significant other with his spouse, DO NOT confront him. Remain calm and speak with him later. Enjoy today with your spouse. Sumo’s, Red Lobster, and Waffle Houses will be packed. Traffic will be a nightmare. The last thing we want to do is mediate some Jerry-Springer style dispute. We would rather be giving out traffic tickets. Thank you for your Corporation.”

“How to drive in Rain in Rome Georgia.

1. Randomly Stop in the middle of the road for no reason.

2. When lights turn green, don’t move. Just sit there until the rain slows down.

3. Act like you’ve never driven before.”

“Febuary begins tomorrow. We know most of you are gonna get huuuge income tax refunds. When y’all gonna be hood rich and eating fancy in Rome’s upscale restaurants, Chili’s, Applebee’s, Red Lobster, and Sonny’s. Don’t forget to get catched up your outstanding traffic fines, Water bills and property taxes. We could use the $$$”

“Roads are still icey out there. It’s to cold even Ugg boots and leggings ain’t keeping our women warm. These are just some of the exuses to stay home from school tomorrow. The school boreds will decide later today if they believe us.”

“It’s gonna snow tonight. Stay indoors, don’t go outside. Stay warm and snuggle. Don’t forget to send us pictures of your new babies this October!!!!”

Unfortunately, there are many people who upon first glance believe it’s the city or county’s official Facebook page and with that in mind, are either offended by the content or appalled by all the misspellings and poor grammar.

The page has more than a hundred reviews. Some think it’s misleading and stupid, but many others recognize immediately that it’s meant to be funny.

Some of the reviews rail against the page’s administrator and call him or her all sorts of names.

Here’s my two cents. I think most of the content is pretty funny. To me, it’s CLEARLY satirical in nature and nothing I’ve seen on there makes me think that whoever runs it has any malicious intent whatsoever. He or she is using local people, places, headlines, issues and current events to entertain but also to shed a light on some of the things that Rome and Floyd County residents are talking about.

And especially today, don’t we all appreciate a little levity and humor? Whoever runs the page does not discriminate. He or she pokes fun at local government, local media, local communities, local law enforcement, local businesses, area schools and local life in general.

Just like all of us who produce content with the goal to entertain, this page doesn’t always hit the mark with everyone. Every post has people who love it and people who either don’t get it or don’t think it’s funny at all. And that’s ok.

I want to remind readers that just because you don’t find something funny doesn’t mean everyone shares your opinion. Just because you’re outraged, doesn’t mean you’re right.

The page has more than 7,000 followers. That’s 7,000 people who want to see that content. I haven’t seen anything on the page that seems like it’s meant to hurt an individual’s feelings.

In fact, because of the tone and language of the posts, it seems like the page’s owner(s) is making fun of him or herself more than anyone else.

And for those who say the page is misleading or dangerous, I grant you that the county seal as a profile picture AT FIRST GLANCE can be tricky. But like I said, this page uses the two red horns on that photo. And as I mentioned previously, the ABOUT section of the page clearly states it’s a satire page and not affiliated with any government body. The bigger issue isn’t this one page with its intentionally misspelled words and obviously satirical posts. It’s that there are some folk out there who take a Facebook post as Gospel and share and comment on it without doing any research to see if it’s true or not.

If you’d like to check out the page, you’re free to read the posts, follow the page or you may see it pop up on a friend’s page since many people have been sharing its content.

But if you don’t want to, then simply ignore it.

Severo Avila is features editor for the Rome News-Tribune