Yesterday, I got angry at a post I saw on Facebook. Here it is:
One thing I’ve learned about certain people on Facebook is that you should take a screenshot of conversations like this one because usually, within minutes of losing an argument, the poster will take them down and Unfriend you. I’m amazed at how some people cannot allow themselves to be wrong, but will call out publicly anyone else they disagree with. If you will note, this poster started the whole exchange by condemning non-Trump supporters as people who were rejecting God. He messaged me during this exchange, which I’m going to kindly refrain from also putting up here, because he got personal and ridiculous, and made not one good argument in support of his theory. Instead, he says he can tell what kind of Christian I am from my Facebook page. Well. I’ll admit. 90% of my posts are shares about cute animals, 5% are pictures of my animals, 3% are stupid tests like which fairy tale princess I am, and about 2% are links to this blog. I can see how he could tell so much about me.
Here’s the thing. Social media has given us the illusion that if we don’t like what we’ve said, we can just delete it like we never said it, and there should be no consequences. We can Unfriend the injured party, and bam! No one will ever know we stepped in it and offended someone with our words.
It teaches us that we shouldn’t have to apologize because we can pretend we never said something wrong. I don’t like that at all. We don’t always say or do the right thing. We are all careless and wrong sometimes. The bigger person…the wiser person… would back it up, test their words against their conscience, and if found wrong, admit it with humility and apologize. The delete key doesn’t unring any bells, my friend.
I have friends on both sides of this election. Best friends, and people I truly love. Maybe that’s why I want so badly for all of this to calm down. It bothers me that I could lose some of my liberal friends by hoping I’m wrong about Trump, and by accepting he is, in fact, our duly elected president, God help us all. It bothers me I can’t celebrate happily with my Right-wing friends over what they consider a triumph for this country. But I owe all of them the courtesy of being honest.
I rarely Unfriend anyone. Normally, I reserve that stroke for stalkers, pot-stirrers who won’t let go, and people I’m fairly sure borrowed an American name to go trolling for lonely women on the internet. What I won’t do is Unfriend someone who is adamant about what they believe, even if it isn’t what I believe, and conducts themselves politely despite of the difference.
That guy did exactly what I knew he would do. He disappeared off my feed, taking his doomed conversation with him. In a way, I’m kind of sad I was right. We’re forgetting how to connect with each other, and this technology is teaching us bad things.
4 responses to “Never Having To Say You’re Sorry – The Unfriend Feature”
“We’re forgetting how to connect with each other” That’s really the crux of it, isn’t it? We’ve become so divided – by party, race, gender, religion – you name it – we can no longer see each other as flawed human beings just like ourselves with more in common than not. Sad really. I pray we can get back to unity, somehow, and that it won’t take some huge, outside “Common Enemy” to do it.
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I have found that is it impossible to have a valid conversation with people who are so wrapped up in being correct that they cannot imagine they might potentially be wrong. It is a waste of time.
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I saw a video about the debates on ABC between Gore Vidal and William F. Buckley in about the time of Nixon or Johnson. It put ABC on the media map like nothing else has ever done since. At the end of the video the producer made a statement pointing out that back in that day there was only 3 television networks and pretty much the whole population got virtually the same reports because of the small number of outlets. Since then, with the internet and personal media there are innumerable sources of input. This makes it possible for a person to graze the internet and regardless of their frame of thought they can find all sorts of support for their positions and without a firm frame of reference from outside of themselves and some sort of accountability may come up with all sorts of diversity of thought, good or bad, loving or hating, wise or foolish. I have read a lot and hold the scriptures the highest as my frame of reference. I try very hard to really get what the scripture teaches.
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I agree completely with you. The internet has really given us some amazing opportunities, but it has also given us some bad ones too. It is easier to surround yourself with people who believe as you do, without the effort you should put into every thought you have – why do I believe this? How does it line up with the word? Do I know this to be a fact, or am I just relying on the fact that others believe the same as I do?
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