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Friday, March 17, 2017

Politics and Social Media


Politics and Social Media

A cranky opinion for

CRANKY OPINION SATURDAY

The following is the opinion of a cranky old man based on experience.  Opposing opinions are welcome, but please, no name calling, and that means you, you big stupid-head.

I enjoy talking politics, I really do.  Not just with people who agree with me, I enjoy the exchange of ideas and opinions.  I learn from these discussions.  I don’t often change my opinion, but I learn.  I learn facts, and different issues, but mostly I learn about people who think differently than I.  It is good to get a different perspective on issues.  In general I think I am respectful, I try to be, I try not to name call, I try to listen.  I probably fail from time to time.

I have learned that social media is not the place for these conversations.  Email, blogs, twitter, Facebook and any others, do not allow for voice inflections, facial expressions, tone of voice or body language.  This leads to misunderstanding and that leads to anger.  I have learned this, but I still occasionally get involved.  I am trying to wean myself of all social media politics.

I have stopped blogging on politics, except last week I slipped only slightly and was not happy with the result.  So, no more on this blog.  I will read political blogs from time to time, but I probably will not comment.

I don’t twitter, and learned long ago to be careful what you say on an email, so Facebook is my last area of concern.  I will try to not make political comments, I will try and not respond to political posts, I activate the “Don’t See” on every political source that I hits my page regardless of the affiliation. 

I have also simply unfollowed those whose posts or comments rile me up.  I have unfollowed several friends, and even some relatives including a son.  The unfollow should not be interpreted as not wanting to be friends, it is simply a means of avoiding conflict on subjects without hurting any feelings.  For instance, I want my son to feel free to voice his political opinions without getting into an internet battle with his father.  When we are together, I would enjoy such a discussion, however, social media is not the place.  

Facebook says you can unfollow without un-friending and therefore offending a friend.  Apparently, this is not true.  Recently I unfollowed a friend’s wife as her comments seemed a little personally aggressive to me.  No hard feelings, I just thought it better to avoid such discourse with this person…a very nice person by the way.  It is not the person, it is the medium.  Somehow, they could tell I unfollowed and interpreted it as un-friended (what a complicated world).

My friend was very upset. He told me he was disgusted with my slanted rants and I was called infantile.  This is a person I worked with for years, we bowled together on the same team for years.  Not necessarily a close friend, but a good friend.  I know if we had any disagreement in person it would have never come to name calling, I have too much respect for him and I think it was mutual, however this social media thing is a different animal.  So, it cost me a friend, something I do not take lightly, but it is a lesson learned.

That’s it; no more politics on social media. 

For my blogging and Facebook friends, do not take offense.  I’m sure that face to face we could have very productive discussions even with an Oregon artist or a fish loving Montana doctor.  If I slip up, please feel free to call me on it.

The preceding was the opinion of a cranky old man and not necessarily that of management…Mrs. Cranky.

26 comments:

  1. I completely understand your personal desire to avoid political discussion on social media, but I must respectfully disagree with your premise that a political conversation should only be undertaken when you can see/hear "the voice inflections, facial expressions, tone of voice or body language" of the speaker.

    I might come into personal contact with 20+/- people a day, and might only know 3 or 4 of those well enough to talk politics. On social media I can converse with hundreds a day. I can explain my ideas, and listen to theirs. It would be like saying the editorial board of a newspaper should only be able to disseminate its opinion(s) via a town crier on the sidewalk out front of their office where listeners could see/hear "the voice inflections, facial expressions, tone of voice or body language" of the speaker.

    By all means, exercise your right to read or listen to whatever you want, no apology or explanation necessary. Whether you read what I yap about or not, I won't be offended, and will still consider you to be a great guy. :)

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  2. I try to stay away from it but I fail miserably. I agree with the inflection of voice. It makes a huge difference.

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  3. I don't care to dip into that can of worms. I'll usually read but not comment when I get a whiff of something political.

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  4. I usually don't do politics for that reason. It is too easy to upset people or get involved in lengthy arguments. As for Facebook, I never trust that one. I came off it a long time ago when I discovered that un-friending just upset people more. Nothing is secret or sacred on there so I prefer to leave it alone.

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  5. Hi Cranky Man,

    Yes - agree. I must stop talking politics too. I'm trying to be positive and politics brings out the worst in me. I tend to ignore Facebook and Twitter these days as well - which is a good thing.

    :o)

    Cheers

    PM

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  6. I follow that policy as well, but I'd like to know how in the world someone knows when you unfollow them on fb?

    The intolerance for anyone else's opinion but your own in today's society is alarming.

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  7. I think that's probably a wise decision. I know I sometimes make comments 'tongue in cheek' forgetting that there is no visual to accompany my words. If , in the comments I have left you, I have offended or insulted please know that was never my intent and I apologize if I have done so.

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    Replies
    1. People are respectful on this blog, the few semi-nasty comments I do get are almost always comments to an opinion post which is kind of asking for it.

      I'm not looking for an apology from anyone, actually I mean to offer one myself.

      Delete
  8. I just deactivated my Facebook. It just was not seeming worth the aggravation. Also, my account kept getting hacked. Perhaps I keep my laptop too close to the microwave. (Sorry, I can't help myself sometimes.)

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  9. I'm going to picture you making that dig toward those leaning right, with a respectful smile and accept it as a little friendly sarcasm, and not looking to start a fight. It actually helps make the point.

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  10. I'm fine with anyone (aside from my nearest and dearest- family and close friends) unfollowing me. I generally don't generate posts aside from my innocuous photos - either on FB or on the blog but I certainly do "like" a lot of them and will comment from time to time.

    I know that you and I lean in different directions. That doesn't change the fact that I enjoy what you have to say, particularly when accompanied by your fine sense of humour.. which is almost always.

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  11. If we all leaned on the same side, the boat would capsize.

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  12. I recently started facebook again; I had an initial go at it some years ago for a month and quit.
    The only real use I've found for it is getting pictures of the kids and grands that otherwise they'd forget to email me.
    Other than that, pretty much everybody says the same things, just different ways.
    Gotta go kiss a fish,
    Cheers.

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  13. Well at least you weren't called a racist, or the litany of other adjectives that are tossed around constantly. That's a plus. You're right though, you can't talk about politics. I still do from time to time, but I try not to.

    Have a fabulous day, Joe. ☺

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  14. Yes, it would be possible for you to have a productive discussion with an Oregon artist. I try to stay away from politics because it's so divisive. We've become so polarized that we are no longer listening to each other, hiding behind our own set of facts. Conservatives aren't always wrong and Liberals aren't always right. We're doomed as a country if we can't come together and compromise on what's best for everyone, not just a few. My biggest problem with Trump is that he's doing everything he can to keep us apart. He didn't win the majority yet he acts like he won a mandate in a landslide. This isn't leadership.

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  15. I do try to avoid that trap. No one has ever changed my mind nor visa versa. Besides, there are so many other facets I can like about a person who leans another direction--why poke a normally lovely bear?

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  16. That's why I delete your name when I send anti-Trump cartoons & jokes to my Duckies!!

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    Replies
    1. Hmmm...I think you just snuck in a political comment. I'll have to ask you to go to the naughty place for five minutes.

      Delete
  17. I generally avoid politics on my blog although it does come up when I comment on others. I don't know if that's right or wrong but it's what I do and I'm sticking to it. Sorry about your problems with friends and family in cyberspace. Maybe they, too, will come around some day.

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  18. The only way to have such a discussion online is with the ground rules set that everyone will ask for clarification instead of assuming something rude is intended.

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  19. I think it can be done...I've followed a few spirited discussions on Facebook. But it's a difficult line to walk, and you are right - without the tone and facial expressions that often soften a statement, what is said is often interpreted differently than what was meant.

    I've only unfollowed one person on Facebook, because what he posted and shared was clearly fake news ("Sandy Hook never happened"). I don't know how someone would know you unfollowed him/her.

    I'm tempted to start a Twitter account...just for the fun of it. I need someone to explain to me how it all works.

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  20. I learned years ago not to comment on someone's post when their faith was different than mine and what I said caused them to kick me off their blog and not let me post comments to it. I've become more gentler over the years with political and religious posts though sometimes (usually wine is involved) I'll state an opinion that goes against my resolve to not get too involved politically or religiously. As an aside, I just don't get Twitter. I know the concept of it, but it something I have not time to do or desire to pursue.

    betty

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  21. As I was reading, I kept wondering when the "April Fools" would be screamed, but then I said, "It's not April yet." I hope you won't feel constricted. After all, it's your blog, your fb, etc. But... things have become so volatile, that maybe more of us should give up our selfish needs to express ourselves to our family and friends who we oppose, and scream at the TV news instead during our private time. We all want to be RIGHT, is what I think it boils down to, and most of us aren't absolutely sure that we are.

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  22. I've unfollowed a number of people and unfriended a few particularly mean spirited ones. I don't talk politics on FB.
    I also don't blog about hot-button topics. I figure I won't be changing anyone's mind anytime soon so why waste my breath?

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