There are few things more ominous and full of portent than this New York Times article about the changing nature and tone of communications in a small town in the Ozarks:

“But of late, more people in this hardscrabble town of 5,000 have shifted from sharing the latest news and rumors over eggs and coffee to the Mountain Grove Forum on a social media Web site called Topix, where they write and read startlingly negative posts, all cloaked in anonymity, about one another.”

So it was bound to happen, eventually. Apparently when you get wired, the less appealing parts of human nature aren’t far behind. This small town story of what happens next – real damage, divorce, suicide – is required reading for those of us who trade in any way in spiteful commentary we don’t have to fess up to.

If this isn’t a wake-up call about how we do – and how we do not – want to use our technological advances, I don’t know what is. The whole depressing tale is here.

(Photo credit)