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.

Group # Administrators Status
Cold Spring Neighbors 556 Andrea Hudson, Steve Laifer Closed
Cold Spring Neighbors (Not the Secret Neighbors Group) 615 Bridget Villetto Public
You Know You’re from Cold Spring When… 1,156 Villetto, Lori Marie Public
Philipstown Locals 3,401 Violet Rivenburg, Susan Kenny, Margaret Yonco-Haines Closed
Philipstown Locals Uncensored 789 Russ Cusick Closed
Beacon is My Home 1,780 Cusick, Scott Harrison, Scott Snell Public
Beacon, NY 7,284 Dave Gianna, Keith Décent, Todd Drake, Nils Huehnergarth Closed
Beacon, NY: Open Forum 2,322 Brad Fredricks, Phil Bram, Ori Alon Public
You Know You’re From Beacon When… 6,021 Kyrstin McCabe Closed

More Groups

Group # Administrators Status
Cold Spring Moms 181 Noreen Hegarty-Weber Closed
Cold Spring Merchants 97 Leonora Burton, Teri Barr Closed
Cold Spring Commutes 83 Drena Fagen Closed
Philipstown Freecycle 766 Nancy Lauretta Closed
Philipstown Perennials 146 Cindy Kearns Scott Public
Chicken People of Philipstown 65 Lydia JA Langley Closed
Philipstown Dog Lovers 56 Owen McGinley, Madeleine Sanchez McGinley Closed
Philipstown Gun Owners 43 Michael Bowman, Christopher Zaleski, Jackie GunsEmslie, Kevin McConville, Airinhos Serradas, Nicholas S. Cantellano Closed
Philipstown Debate Forum 87 Mary Ellen Yannitelli Public
Philipstown Bulletin Board 719 Russ Cusick Public
Bee People of Philipstown 10 Robert Langley, Lydia JA Langley Closed
Where’s the Poison Ivy in Philipstown? 14 Robin Gustafson Public
Philips – Town Bear 111 Margaret Parr Public
Beacon Buy, Sell, Trade, Loan, Barter, Giveaway 8,544 Beacon Experiment Closed
Beacon Works! 3,080 Beacon Experiment Closed
Artist of Beacon 227 Markie Baylash Public
I Love Beacon NY 527 Steve Mooso Closed


3 thoughts on “City in the Cloud

  1. 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. 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. 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.