Disheartened by recent events on Facebook, Julia Buxton Cox, creator of NOTL Today, has found another direction for her time and talents.
The Facebook page for which she is so well-known and respected was intended, “as a forum for residents of NOTL to come together to promote events, share photos, look for recommendations and discuss issues facing our town.” And as a very involved and meticulous administrator, she has been careful to ensure posts are respectful.
But over the past weekend, the name of one of her sister pages, NOTL Bulletin Board, administered by her friend Gail Kendall, turned up on another page.
It’s not the first time she’s seen that happen — she pointed out about 10 pages that were copycats of others, demonstrating, “mean, playground antics.” By Wednesday, the creator of the copycat page had changed the name of it, but the reaction on Facebook continued, and to Buxton Cox, the damage had been done.
She decided it was time to rise above that, to do something positive for the community, and she discovered an alternative that has her really excited — a Facebook page called Buy Nothing Groups. It represents all she believes in, she says, and everything she stands for. It’s not a business, it’s not about trade, barter or swapping. It’s about random acts of kindness, people helping each other, giving and receiving, posting if they have something they don’t need and want to give away or asking for items they might need, with no money changing hands.
“It’s about me making a pot of spaghetti, and having so much I can share. It’s people giving of their time and talents, as well as people asking for things. If I find I need a cup of sugar, I can post, ‘have you got a cup of sugar,’ and someone will offer me a cup of sugar.” While she may have a talent for making great spaghetti, she’s not so good at gardening, she says. “This summer, I may decide I need help in the garden, and I may ask for it. It’s a gift of self, a gift of time.”
There are 3,000 groups world-wide, she says, with people giving freely to help others. There are some rules to qualify to host such a page. Buxton Cox will begin a seven-day training program Sunday that will allow her to start a Niagara-on-the-Lake chapter. “It’s where I’ve landed and what I want to do for the community. I have the time, and I want to volunteer. I’m in this for the long term.”
The concept embraces all she holds dear — it’s green, it recycles, it’s about getting to know your neighbours, it’s about helping others. “What I love best about this group is the gratitude, and kindness it displays. I feel this town is ready for it. There are so many people with pure, good hearts,” says Buxton Cox. “Gratitude is such a big piece of my life. I’m so blessed with all the people I’ve met in town, and all they give of their time and talents.”
She says she has been asking herself, as an engaged member of the community, how she could use her time, talent and skills for the betterment of the community. “If we all ask ourselves that question, we’re going in the right direction.” She says she’s considering shutting down her NOTL Today page, because of what has happened with the proliferation of what she considers “fake pages.” “It’s not what NOTL Today or Facebook is all about,” she says. “I think it’s time to shift the focus away from the negative of Facebook, and let gratitude and kindness rise to the top. I’m ready to embrace caring.”