Cary Africk: Thanks, Baristanet

While many predicted that the rise of the Internet, and the growing popularity of social media, would mean the end of civilization, events continue to tell a different story.

From the global uprisings promoting democracy in ways heretofore unachievable, to its role in education and political literacy, we are seeing enormous benefit throughout our daily lives.

And closer to home we see what “social media” can do. In an emergency, like Irene.

I want to specifically thank our Baristanet, including Debbie Galant, and Liz George, and all the other staff for their work in keeping the residents of Baristaville (at least those with a connection!) in touch with others, and in touch with information to help and reassure them as we endured the storm.

Baristanet kept up on the web site, on Facebook, and on a Twitter stream, throughout the storm. We were informed on storm track, road closings, floods, downed lines, to who had a generator or pump.

While other blogs and websites, including the town’s own, tried to fulfill this role, their efforts did not match the accomplishments of Baristanet.

Communication and information was what was needed. It was what Baristanet delivered, sometimes by candlelight or in a closet when it turned out that was the only location to connect to cell service when power went out.

While we were spared the potential destructive effects of the storm, next time we might not be so lucky.

Thanks, Baristanet!

Cary Africk
2nd Ward Councilor
Montclair, NJ

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16 COMMENTS

  1. First a press release from Bloomfield’s saviour now a press release from Montclair’s. Imagine politician writing a thank you note to the NYT thanking them for doing their work.

    Bnet has jumped the shark.

  2. “While many predicted that the rise of the Internet, and the growing popularity of social media, would mean the end of civilization…”

    Seriously?

    …Andrew

  3. “…..the growing popularity of social media, would mean the end of civilization…”

    I don’t think anyone predicted the power of hyperlocal journalism. It’s like the old town square ‘cept we don’t have to take a horse & buggy to town to find out whats happening in our neighborhoods. I say BRAVO Baristanet

  4. What a lovely gesture that Councilor Cary Africk expresses his gratitude to Baristanet. I agree and think that the Baristas provide a BRILLIANT and extremely valuable and transparent community service, our means of informing ourselves, communicating and getting to know each other. A BLESSING during the storm! Bravissime Baristas and thank you Cary!

  5. Ba’net is my first source of information for what’s going on in Montclair. You guys do a wonderful job of keeping me informed of the Montclair happenings. Thanks!

  6. Of course Cary Africk expresses his appreciation above, This site gives him a ready pulpit time and again, whatever he says. It’s a politician’s dream to have this kind of “authentically local” outlet. (And to run on much too prematurely and fulgently about “global uprisings promoting democracy.”) I mean, really, c’mon, Cary…

    Far more interesting might be to ponder why no other councilperson, and also nary a local member of the state assembly or senate, similarly makes avail of Baristanet. All are rather conspicuous by their absence here, no?

    (Although, with regard to the lack of such likely self-promotion, I’d probably say myself, “Thanks, Baristanet,” for not being rated as important enough by local politicians to serve as another outlet for their venting.)

  7. Cathar, other council members have used it – I seem to remember both Baskerville and Murnick submitting items to Baristanet fairly recently. But they aren’t yet running for mayor, which is pretty clearly what Africk is doing.

  8. The mayor won’t do it, mostly, because when he does throw something up online, it brings out his critics, and he obsesses over every single negative comment (he doesn’t have a job, after all, unless unofficial Chinese ambassador counts). Besides, he has a direct line to Patch, which seems to print what he says verbatim without making sure it’s, you know, the truth.

  9. “Of course Cary Africk expresses his appreciation above, This site gives him a ready pulpit time and again,”

    Well, that’s to be expected, no? Desired, even. Personally, I appreciate both the platform and Cary’s use of it. I am sorry that more use isn’t made by the other political figures, town and school, involved in the running of our town. When politicians avoid a forum because they cannot control the message, I wonder why.

    I certainly don’t agree with Cary on everything, but I respect his willingness to be here (and elsewhere) offering his perspective and taking our “criticism”.

    Of course, he does occasionally go a little overboard in the realm of hyperbole. “…end of civilization…”?

    …Andrew

  10. Biggest thanks of all to our readers — who sent in tips, photos and videos during the hurricane and shared information on Facebook and Twitter. We wouldn’t have been able to cover the hurricane without all that sharing of information.

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