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Facebook moderator talks online negativity, local music, and foreheads

He says the popular Timmins, ON Facebook can actually be a helpful resource

For our 12th issue of People of Timmins, we interviewed Norman Dwyer, who is known for his involvement in the local music scene, and who is also one of the moderators of the Timmins, ON Facebook group, which has over 20,000 members.

Q: You're very active on Facebook, even moderating the Timmins, ON Facebook group. Is the Timmins community on Facebook really as negative as everyone says?

A: It really isn't. We approve dozens of great posts every day. Project Love is quite active on our page keeping everyone up to date with all that they are doing. Lost pets are reconnected with their families, fundraisers for all sorts of worthy causes, a bunch of us even got together and sponsored a youth to play hockey. The reality is people focus on negativity. A negative post comes up and it explodes three to 400 comments and reactions in an hour, but some people can see past that and use the page for the extremely helpful resource it can actually be.

Q: When you do see negativity online, how do you deal with it?

A: In my 10 plus years on the page, I've come to learn that everyone sees negativity differently. Some people honestly believe that a view that contradicts their own is automatically negative. But to me I find it best to sit back, smile and slap my forehead. It's become the equivalent of the morning newspaper on the toilet for me: let's log on to the page, and see what people are saying today, and it never fails to give me a laugh.

Q: You are very active in the local concert scene. What are some of the challenges of putting on a concert in Timmins?

A: As my own personal views, I'd have to say genre vs. population. There's definitely a good mix of musical preference in our not-so-big town. Finding the right bands to get the town out and supporting could be a bit of a challenge. So far I feel the right calls have been made. Rock on the River has seen a growth in both names and attendance year after year, and I know we all hope that trend will continue no matter how difficult it can be.

Q: Are you a musician yourself or simply a fan?

A: I can rock the meanest air guitar known to man.

Q: On Facebook, you're known as Norman Edward, but in reality, you're Norman Dwyer. The media gets it wrong a lot. Even I did once! Have the mix-ups been more humourous or more frustrating for you?

A: I think they're hilarious. I always provide my proper name and spelling, and they always come back with my Facebook name, which in itself is a funny story. I used to go by Norm an D on Facebook. Some friends have been calling me that for as long as I can remember, so when I opened my account I thought why not. Anyhow... I'm on a trip in Mexico and I end up locked out of my account for not having a real name. To have it unlocked, I need to provide verification of my actual name, so I follow their steps. I cover the numbers on my ID, take a pic, and send it: Norman Edward Dwyer. Two days later, my account is unlocked, but my name is changed to Norman Edwards and the option to change it is locked. Like I said earlier, smack my forehead, smile, laugh a bit, and get on with my day.

Q: Would you say you're a bit of a local celebrity, now that your name (the real one and the wrong one) has become more recognized?

A: Well, I haven't been signing any autographs, I'll tell you that much.

Q: You've devoted much of your life to working with people with special needs. What drew you to this line of work and how has it affected or changed your worldview?

A: It all started out as a high school placement. I did a semester at Living Skills, met some great people, had amazing mentors, and just had a blast doing it. I'd hate to sound like a broken record, but if you have the innate ability to look at any situation, slap your forehead, smile, laugh it off, and move on with the day, I strongly suggest giving the field a try. You'll probably never find a more fulfilling job. I feel it's important to mention it was also what my dad did, but I didn't see myself going that route until that placement.

Q: OK, time for some fun, rapid fire questions. Pranks: love or hate them?

A: Bring them on.

Q: If they made a movie about your life, which actor would play you?

A: Maybe the love child of Norman Reedus and David Spade.

Q: If you could go on a free week-long trip anywhere in the world, where would you go?

A: Ireland all day, not sure a week would cut it though.

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Jessica Trudel

About the Author: Jessica Trudel

Jessica Trudel is a freelance writer, editor and founder of the Silverleaf Writers Guild
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