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.