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"When we judge or criticize another person, it says nothing about that person; it merely says something about our own need to be critical." --unknown
Bloggers are frequently accused of hiding behind their computer screens and saying things they wouldn’t say in public or to someones face. Recently I have found that seems to be happening more and more on Facebook. Which is surprising, because while you have safety of the computer screen, you don’t have anonymity.
Facebook seems to be a breeding ground for intolerance.
As Facebook becomes more and more popular it’s being used more and more to push agendas and promote ideas. I love that. If a catchy and popular social network is what it takes to stir emotions or get people working together on a common goal great! Even if I don’t agree with the agenda I see the value in being able to quickly get your message out to hundreds of people in your stream. I may or may not agree with what is going on in Wisconsin but I have watched it unfold in my Facebook stream from people that are there and it’s interesting to watch and see how people are using it to spread a movement.
What concerns me is as I watch this new use for Facebook grow, is the intolerance and hate speech I see growing right along with it. I see this from both sides, it’s not a one sided issue. I see more and more people who instead of passing by their friends posts feel the need to call them out. Question their faith or call them names. This, I don’t get.
I don’t post a lot of heated debates or political discourse on my Facebook page. I’m not hiding anything I just don’t tend to talk about politics or religion with my friends, “mixed company” as my husband and I joke. See I find my self pretty in the middle, I have friends on both the right and the left. I also know that the comment section on a Facebook post will never, ever change any one's opinion.
Yesterday I made a mistake. I re-posted a call to action on a politically charged thing happening in my neighborhood. The biggest mistake I made was not making it clear that the words were not my own, although I doubt that would have changed the response. I was immediately pegged as a racist (although the post does not mention race) and had my faith called into question. As a blogger I have a pretty thick skin so I just brushed it off and filed it in the lesson learned category.
Than I read Texan Mama’s post on Freedom from Anti religion , she was having a similar issue in her Facebook stream, and it got me thinking about this more. Whether you are Christian or not how is name calling showing tolerance? Isn’t calling me a racist showing the same hateful behavior you are accusing me of?
The whole situation has left me back at an uncomfortable place I was at when I first moved to this area. I feel disconnected and more than a little turned off from the whole Facebook idea. While the sharing of thoughts and ideas are encouraged the tearing down and disparaging those that don’t share your thoughts seem to be just as prevalent and growing. Don’t get me wrong, I am up for debate and discussion on any topic, even if we don’t agree. What I’m not up for are arguments made solely by calling people names, names I’m pretty sure most people wouldn’t be so quick to throw out if they were actually looking someone in the eye.
Social Media can bring a lot of good to movements and causes. I have made some great friends through twitter that I wouldn’t have meet otherwise and they have helped me through tough times and celebrated with me in good times. Social Media can also help you to see the true colors of those around you. While I would never un-friend anyone for their opinion I do make use of that convenient little "x" to hide them from my stream. I wish more people did, maybe than Facebook would be fun again.