Sunday, September 2, 2012

Politics and Facebook.....

I'm not going to spend a lot of time and energy here debating the pros and cons of social sites like Facebook. I resisted FB for a long time, but I've actually come to enjoy using it sparingly. I have my own self-imposed rules about what I post.

  1. I try not to post more than once a day, unless something significant or important is going on.
  2. I do not post personal information.
  3. I do not post information about other people they may not want to be public knowledge.
  4. I do not post pictures of other people without their permission. Well, except for Hubby, but I think there's something about implied consent in our marriage vows.
  5. Perhaps most importantly, I do not post my political/social/religious opinions.
That last one is a biggie for me. It's not that I'm ashamed of my beliefs; I just don't think I need to hammer people over the head with them. (Forgive me if that's a mixed metaphor.) I try to approach Facebook the same way I would when I run into a friend at the grocery store: brief, light, friendly.

I tried to hint subtly to some of my FB friends a couple of weeks ago when I posted the following:

If we are truly friends, you already know my social, political, and religious views. You will NOT find them here.

Sometimes I get embarrassed FOR some people for the things they say on FB and don't care whom they might offend. I try not to take some comments personally, but if a friend or relative posts an opinion that IS personal (even if they don't know it), I can't help but be affected.

See, this trying not to be too personal is getting awkward. I could give you a couple of specific examples, but then I'd be breaking my own rules. Admittedly, I tend to include information that's a LITTLE more personal on my blog, but I feel that after all this time I have a pretty good grasp of who my readers are and what I can post. Ironically, as I wrote not long after I started blogging, the more people one includes in one's blogging circle, the less stuff it's really safe to post. Does that make sense?

I don't mean people shouldn't have the RIGHT to say whatever they want on social media sites. I wouldn't go so far as to deny them that privilege. I guess what I'm trying to say is that I try to post on FB exactly the same way I would speak to people in person. And some of these people I read on FB couldn't possibly feel comfortable saying the things they do in writing. Could they?

I'm not just talking about people whose opinions are different from mine, either. Even if I DO agree with some of the views I come across on FB, I cringe at the way the views are stated.

I got extremely sad when I read the post that was the catalyst for this blog post. It is from someone who has been a friend since high school. This person sat with my family when my step-father died. We haven't always been in contact, but we reconnected in the last few years through FB. I have tried to ignore the political rants, the angst-filled personal revelations, the adolescent emotional outbursts, the almost-daily changing of the profile picture. This one was a little much, though:

Hi I am back! I went away during the Republican Convention. I watched it. I stayed quiet. I have to say NO WAY! I do not want commentary on this status. I want you off my page and out of my life if you believe in the "vision" of the Republican Party and the Romney Ryan ticket. No hate here, no love lost, no need to be connected anymore, by the choke on your next Chic-fil-a sandwich!!

I commented on the post; I couldn't NOT comment on it. But all I said was, "Wow." I guess that could be taken in a number of ways, but I hope this person is intuitive enough to realize how damaging such statements can be.

Another friend, someone I don't know, challenged the writer of this post:

Really??? You want people who believe differently out of your life? Not the words of an open-minded person I must say. But no problem, I will honor your request.

And I found the response almost as sad as the original post:

yes Jay you need to go. you need to go and all of "those" that have your beliefs and values, sucks doesn't it?it is what i have alway gotten.. Not any more. No hate. just nothing to bind us anymore you ...... You are very toxic

I am going to "unfriend" this person, because apparently I am toxic too. It has nothing to do with whether or not I share the individual's personal beliefs; it's more a case of someone putting political beliefs ahead of relationships. Is that what our country has come to? Please, someone tell me it's just a small segment. Please tell me that.



1 comment:

DJan said...

I get on FB sporadically. I want to see what my friends and family are up to, but I hide anybody who offends me with their political views, rather than unfriend them. I am the same: I keep it neutral and try to keep my views to myself. There is so much hate and vitriol in our country right now, I don't need to add any more. I appreciate your attitude and cherish your blog.