Monday, May 2, 2016

I (Don't) Agree With You

Oh Facebook.

I love Facebook. Seriously, it has changed my life as a deaf woman completely for the better. Communicating and staying in touch via text and photos is not just acceptable - but normal. And I love it.

But as we all know, Facebook has a dark side. There are no generally accepted rules of politeness, and sarcasm translates poorly. Furthermore you can think you're holding a conversation with a reasonable friend of a friend - when it is really a weird acquaintance of theirs - or it's their grandma that you just offended! OOPS.

(As far as I know, I've never offended someone's grandma. But the potential is there for the less wary.)

However over the past year I've realized that one side of Facebook I struggle with is realizing just how different everyone in my life is from each other. Diversity is good - I purposefully try to see out diverse views in all aspects of my life. However I don't like discord, and (especially in election year) I see people I love taking diametrically opposed sides. Someone who can be a kindred spirit in all other areas might take a political view that I am uncomfortable with - and that makes me sad.

I don't partake in Facebook debates - or at least, I try not to. Politics in particular, I try to keep for face to face conversation. But the reality is that I'm learning the politics of others via Facebook statuses and I can't respond to that (out of my own code) so it leaves me in a weird limbo. I know a thing about a person, but not because we talked about it. And honestly, if we were talking face to face, I'm not sure everyone would be telling me the same political views they put on Facebook. Maybe they would - I don't know.

I'm glad for free will. I'm glad every human is unique, because it makes life interesting and beautiful. But it also causes dissension and miscommunication and hurt feelings. And I'm struggling to reconcile how I can love so many people - and yet all these people can take so many diverse views -  how two people I love and respect can believe completely opposing things.

This isn't a post about anyone doing anything wrong - this is a post about me coming to terms with what the world really is. Offline, we can flock to our groups of like-minded people, and there's greater consensus simply because people don't want to rock the boat at a party. But online everyone can and does share the causes close to them, and it all comes out. No generation has faced such a public display of their communities beliefs before, and we're still all learning how to approach it.

1 comment:

AnneMarie said...

I think this is really interesting for you to bring up-it's definitely something that I've been noticing a lot on Facebook within this past year with the elections. I've taken several friends of mine off my newsfeed, actually, because I don't want to keep seeing their impassioned political posts (that I disagree with, for the most part) all the time, and I guess I'd just rather not learn about those aspects of their personalities over the internet. Like you point out, these people are all lovely and wonderful, and if it was a face-to-face conversation happening, they would likely be a bit gentler in their approach. Facebook is a huge blessing, but it has definitely changed dynamics of learning about other people dramatically!