City in the Cloud

The contentious election for Philipstown Town Board — at least between Republican candidate Tim Greco and his detractors — brought up issues of Facebook, privacy and closed groups.

To restrict who sees your Facebook posts, click the down arrow at the top right navigation, select “Settings,” then “Privacy” on the left. You can set your posts to be visible to Friends, Friends Except Certain People or Specific Friends. You also can select who can see your list of Friends, who can contact you, who can follow you and who can look you up. For more guidance, see

Of course, none of this prevents anyone who can see your post from taking a screenshot and sharing it.

Much discussion of the candidates and election took place within Facebook groups, which can be Public (click the +Join button) or Closed, in which administrators must approve your request.

Below are the most popular local groups, with the number of members as of Nov. 6, although many typically are “lurkers” who never post. For links to other groups, scroll down.

Cold Spring Neighbors556Andrea Hudson, Steve LaiferClosed
Cold Spring Neighbors (Not the Secret Neighbors Group)615Bridget VillettoPublic
You Know You’re from Cold Spring When…1,156Villetto, Lori MariePublic
Philipstown Locals3,401Violet Rivenburg, Susan Kenny, Margaret Yonco-HainesClosed
Philipstown Locals Uncensored789Russ CusickClosed
Beacon is My Home1,780Cusick, Scott Harrison, Scott SnellPublic
Beacon, NY7,284Dave Gianna, Keith Décent, Todd Drake, Nils HuehnergarthClosed
Beacon, NY: Open Forum2,322Brad Fredricks, Phil Bram, Ori AlonPublic
You Know You’re From Beacon When…6,021Kyrstin McCabeClosed

More Groups

Cold Spring Moms181Noreen Hegarty-WeberClosed
Cold Spring Merchants97Leonora Burton, Teri BarrClosed
Cold Spring Commutes83Drena FagenClosed
Philipstown Freecycle766Nancy LaurettaClosed
Philipstown Perennials146Cindy Kearns ScottPublic
Chicken People of Philipstown65Lydia JA LangleyClosed
Philipstown Dog Lovers56Owen McGinley, Madeleine Sanchez McGinleyClosed
Philipstown Gun Owners43Michael Bowman, Christopher Zaleski, Jackie GunsEmslie, Kevin McConville, Airinhos Serradas, Nicholas S. CantellanoClosed
Philipstown Debate Forum87Mary Ellen YannitelliPublic
Philipstown Bulletin Board719Russ CusickPublic
Bee People of Philipstown10Robert Langley, Lydia JA LangleyClosed
Where’s the Poison Ivy in Philipstown?14Robin GustafsonPublic
Philips – Town Bear111Margaret ParrPublic
Beacon Buy, Sell, Trade, Loan, Barter, Giveaway8,544Beacon ExperimentClosed
Beacon Works!3,080Beacon ExperimentClosed
Artist of Beacon227Markie BaylashPublic
I Love Beacon NY527Steve MoosoClosed


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3 Responses to "City in the Cloud"

  1. Jose Rodriguez
    Jose Rodriguez   November 10, 2017 at 12:43 pm

    I like it when I see something corky/funny in town, and people tell me you live in Cold Spring now. That I love ❤️!

    But then I get this unpleasant feeling of the many bubbles people in our town create. After last year’s election I decided not to be part of these groups even if in the group name has the word “good” is in it. Guess what — still a bubble and bubbles gotta be burst.

  2. Ethan Timm   November 11, 2017 at 10:00 am

    It is sad to me that so much community has moved online, particularly into closed groups owned and operated by a private corporation.

    It used to seem that the main problem in these online groups might be oversharing and exclusivity — now we see that it is also psychological manipulation and disinformation campaigns. I, personally, choose not to use Facebook. I figure many believe this leaves me out in the cold, but I like to think it makes me part of an unnamed community: real life. It used to be that the best things in life were free. Now I believe the best things in life are offline.

  3. Steve Laifer   November 15, 2017 at 5:40 pm

    Facebook groups are a simply a mirror and communication channel of natural, real-world social and political groups that form in a community. They can sometimes lead to a self-reinforcing bias bubbles and confirmation of false “alternate facts” as members echo and reaffirm each others false beliefs. Those types of groups are formed by and for those who want to engage in this kind of thing. The posts on those group pages typically reflect mistrust of others and the conspiratorial thinking of those who feel threatened by a changing community and a world they don’t understand. I attribute that lack of understanding to the purposeful misleading news and information sources they mistakenly trust.

    However, other groups form to share empirical knowledge, informed opinions and new information between those with open minds, curiosity, a hunger for an understanding of our world, and an eye towards progress and improvement that only the true give-and-take of opinions and ideas can accomplish. They are necessarily closed groups to avoid the disruptions of the unreasonable, and those predisposed to attack others instead of discussing topics.


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