Can our democratic society adapt to the impact of social media?

Social media has demonstrated how deep divisions are amongst the left and right; leaving centrists like me to wonder how we got here.

The impact of social media is difficult to comprehend. Let me explain.

As I write to my local paper, I hope several hundred people get to read it, if I’m lucky. My letter must first pass minimal muster at the local publisher and will take a few days to be printed.

If I put it on social media, it will reach many thousands of readers in an instant. It could reach 100 million people in a few days.

Sadly, the size of my audience may only be based on how “enticing” my letter is. Certainly, adding a picture of a cute puppy to my post will double my readership.

But think about it. No one will vet what I write on social media for accuracy, correctness, value, ethics, diversity, honesty or bias until after everyone sees it.

If you are a politician, how careful are you with what you say and do in public nowadays?

Are you measuring your words with an eye on social media? You better. The network TV report or newspaper article about your comments will be old news by the time it’s aired.

This is why more and more politicians are hiding behind party lines. One off the cuff or misinterpreted statement can put in front of millions of eyes in less than a second. Politicians can use this as a tool (see POTUS) or they can choose to stay off the social media radar (see Congress).

The bottom line is you could never believe everything you read in the past, and that is truer today than ever before.

— Bart Piccirillo Bethany

On behalf of the 2017 Annual Milford Oyster Festival Committee, I would like to thank everyone that participated in the Oyster Festival, an important and exciting Milford tradition.

The Oyster Festival is an enormous event. It would not be possible without the coordination of many city departments, especially Public Works, Police, Fire, Health and Recreation departments, the harbormaster and the city electricians. Thank you so much for each of your efforts and continued support. The festival would also not be a success without the dedication of hundreds of festival volunteers. We appreciate their commitment and are grateful for all they do for the event and the 70-plus organizations they represent.

The growth of the Oyster Festival continues each year with commitment and dedication of all that participate. This year we headlined a Southern country rock band — Blackberry Smoke — and continued the promotion and growth of the craft beer garden.

Thank you for putting the annual Milford Oyster Festival on the map and supporting all of the local organizations and businesses that are involved. It makes a difference here in Milford, “the small city with a big heart.”

We look forward to seeing you next Aug. 18 at the 44th annual Milford Oyster Festival.

— Ila Tokarz President, Annual Milford Oyster Festival