One Man’s Junk founder shares history and behind-the-scenes details of running Summit County’s community forum
Local Facebook group One Man’s Junk Summit County started out as a way to buy and sell items with other Summit County residents but has turned into one of the most well-known public forums in the area.
While the One Man’s Junk group is known today for lengthy conversations among residents about housing, recreation or general shenanigans going on around the county, it got started for a different purpose: A family needed to sell some stuff.
Silverthorne Town Council member Amy Manka, founder of One Man’s Junk, said the idea came to her when her family moved to a smaller apartment and had to get rid of household items.
“I decided to create One Man’s Junk so we could sell whatever we wanted to. And then from there, it just really took off, and then it became more of a community bulletin board than a for-sale group,” Manka said.
A few years after the group was created in March 2013, Manka said Facebook pushed out its Marketplace feature, changing how people bought and sold items on Facebook and pushing One Man’s Junk to be more of a discussion-based group. Manka said it wasn’t her intention for the page to become a discussion forum, but she feels there is a lot of benefit in giving people the opportunity to discuss local happenings in a community setting.
“We have so many members in our group that it really can bring light to subjects or things going on within the community,” Manka said.
Manka said she tries to make sure topics and members are local, but because the group has become so large — far exceeding the population of Summit County at nearly 45,000 members — the admins depend on group members to report things that might need to be removed. Manka’s announcement welcoming newcomers to the page says that lost-and-found posts, community information and community-related questions are welcome but that admins want to avoid spam posts as well as anything illegal or vulgar.
“We have quite a few members that will report things that can be removed, especially if they’re not local,” Manka said. “We … allow so much on the page. What I really want to try to prevent is people personally attacking each other, being profane, saying awful things — things such as that — and we try to keep political discussions off the page, as well.”
The page isn’t monetized in any way for admins, but Manka said running it has become a big job. She spends 20 hours per week on average moderating the page and said the work can be a thankless job. Manka said people are often unhappy with her because they’ve been offended by conversations in the group.
She said she receives lots of personal messages that sometimes include death or legal threats, in which case she blocks the user. She said it has taken a lot of thick skin to deal with the hate messages she receives.
“It’s really interesting how people will take a post that I maybe have never seen or a comment I never did see, and they’ll throw that on me as if I had said it myself,” Manka said.
On the positive side of things, Manka said she has had many people tell her they appreciate the group and think it’s a great forum and marketplace for the community. She said she will have conversations with people who disagree with how she runs the page but that people are generally understanding after they talk.
Overall, Manka said she’s happy with the page and proud of the local platform it provides.
Melissa Decker, an admin of the page, recalled when Manka started the group and asked Decker to help out.
“When I first started, there was hardly any activity. It was just people selling things here and there. And then it just became this colossal thing that’s a daily effort,” Decker said, noting that she has a full-time job with Summit Stage and spends about an hour per day moderating the page and responding to requests to join the group.
Decker said activity on the page reached new heights when businesses shut down at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020. While posts sometimes get out of hand, Decker said she likes the community discussion aspect of the page and that people alerting one another to road closures and job openings is helpful.
“We love the community involvement — just let’s all try to be nicer to each other,” Decker said.
Support Local Journalism
Support Local Journalism
As a Summit Daily News reader, you make our work possible.
Now more than ever, your financial support is critical to help us keep our communities informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having on our residents and businesses. Every contribution, no matter the size, will make a difference.
Your donation will be used exclusively to support quality, local journalism.