Identify Yourself – Friend or Foe?

There are three topics of discussion that are supposed to be off-limits at a dinner parties.

Sex, Politics and Religion.

They’re off-limits for a good reason – because they’re subjects that can generate intense and often ugly discussion.

So why is it that some amongst us are perfectly happy to offer up their ugly opinions in a public forum?

I’ve discussed many topics during my few months on WordPress.com, but I decided very early to steer clear of the three taboos. My opinions on these three subjects are mine, and mine alone, and I certainly don’t have the right to ram them down anyone else’s throat.

I guess people feel the security provided by a firewall gives them the right to publish their hateful opinions without responsibility. Perhaps they feel the ubiquitous oracle that is Facebook has made it thus.

But I don’t subscribe to that theory.

I’ve been reading the increasingly frequent posts from those I’d befriended on the popular platform and more often than not I’ve come away feeling that they’ve somehow hijacked a part of my day with their vitriol and biased commentary.

Of course, not all of my “friends” behave like this, but there are some.

So what’s a Facebook friend to do?

In this election year I’ve been reading many spiteful attacks on politicians and political parties and often started formulating all sorts of responses, but those responses, if made, would undoubtedly escalate the problem. I find there’s absolutely no point in trying to respond to the posts made by these “friends” on Facebook because I’ve seen too much of what then happens. The moment you do object to something written in that place you immediately open yourself up to further responses that are often worse. The vitriol flows thick and fast down the pipes of the internet.

So rather than post a sensible, rational, well-argued response refuting their arguments and offering a different point of view I simply hide their outbursts from my Facebook page.

Or I delete them as a “friend”.

And then I shrug my shoulders and go and do something else.

But the sour taste lingers on – what has been read cannot be unread.

My use of Facebook has been slowly moderating over the last year or so and my “friend” list has shrunk remarkably. I found I could not only no longer keep up with the innumerable updates, but I no longer wanted to read the awful stuff a lot of them posted.

I know people whose “friends” list numbers in the thousands. Imagine if they all started hateful posts.

I think I’d go a bit mad, because after all, with “friends” like those who’d need enemies?

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One response to “Identify Yourself – Friend or Foe?

  1. Bartrim Vendells

    Yeah, I sort of agree. I’m happy to deal with a difference of opinion with a real friend, but on FB it’s just not worth it.
    Bartrim

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