Social Media and Politics

I do not believe that I will convince anyone to change their mind on matters of politics through a Facebook post. If you and I are of a similar mind, what I say might get a “heck yeah”. If you’re opposed, it’ll get an “oh no he didn’t!” Thus flame wars are born afresh across the internet. And people get upset. And then they share with their friends. And then they get upset. I complain about all the crazy people in my feed. And share with my friends. Then they get upset. And on and on and on we go, arguing endlessly and never coming to anything remotely approaching understanding much less agreement. Facebook allows for easy shouting, but not so much for quiet conversation.

Looking at my social media feeds, I’m certainly not being convinced of anything. People post like crazy. “Look what the administration just did!” “Why didn’t these people complain when the last administration was exercising executive overreach!””I just joined [NAME OF GROUP], and you should to because it protects our rights!” (Consider this, dear reader: which group did you just put in those brackets? The ACLU or the NRA?

I just wrote a full page of mostly single-spaced text as a response to some text wall someone had put up. As I was tying up the loose ends of my diatribe, I typed “but I have no illusions about convincing anyone who isn’t already leaning my way to change through a Facebook post.”

As soon as I’d written it, I realized it was absolutely true. Facebook / social media (especially Twitter. Yeesh.) isn’t the place to have the kind of meaningful conversation that brings understanding, reconciles differences, and changes minds. Those conversations are a couple of levels deeper than what Facebook allows. Facebook is good for maybe a first or second level conversation. First level being “how’s the weather”, and second being “I read this great book the other day.” The medium doesn’t lend itself to deeper conversation. Link to a great blog post? (not this one, goodness), yes. Reflection upon what current trends in the culture and the world around us means for our families, our culture, future generations, etc? Not so much.

It’s great for memes and dinner recommendations. I’m constantly seeing recipes I want to try. It’s adequate if all you want to do is shout “THAT’S BAD!” Or “LOOK AT HOW GOOD I’M BEING!” Or “DID YOU SEE WHAT THAT CRAZY PERSON SAID/DID/POSTED? OMG!”

But it’s no great shakes at reasoned discussion.

Not that this will convince anyone. 😉

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