Facebook is my happy place. A virtual water cooler for a work-at-home mom who enjoys the company of a diverse group of Facebook friends, who include vegans, carnivores, the rich, the poor, the middle class, homeschoolers, those devoted to public education, natural healers, nurses and doctors, and, of course, liberals and conservatives.
It’s important to me that the pictures, links, commentaries, or comments I’m sharing on Facebook add something of value to the Facebook community that I’m a part of, so with that in mind, most of my Facebook posts are positive, random, and hopefully, amusing. I try. I love seeing my friends’ vacation pictures, pictures of their grade schoolers first day of school, and grandbabies—and hopefully I can be on hand to cheer them up when life sucks. In turn, my Facebook friends put up with my bragging about my kid, goofy stories, and personal rants.
Most people, I believe, sign on to Facebook to take a break from their worries, expecting to have some fun and not to be served serious politics with their cuppa or cheese sandwich. But these days it seems a few friends have decided to mix Facebook with politics, and it’s not FUN; it’s not fun at all.
I’m not sure what these friends expect to accomplish when they post their political deluges. Perhaps offending others and causing political unrest is fun for them. Could they really be so arrogant to believe that they can convert the undecideds and wayward thinkers by expounding on the perceived insanity of the opposing candidates and parties? Maybe they just think they’re so smart and doing us all a favor by making the decisions on the candidates because we aren’t intelligent enough to think for ourselves. Who knows, but with all the resources available to stay informed, do we really need Facebook friends to be our political resources? I would rather hear what they had for lunch.
The political cartoons and captions, and commentaries that show up in my newsfeed are rarely original and more often than not I kill the “share” by hitting delete. But occasionally friends will post their thoughts about issues that concern them directly, for example, angst over navigating the health care system or spending almost $5 a gallon at the gas pump, and those friends capture my attention. I care. I listen. I comment. It’s possible to be empathetic without causing political unease.
For those that long to share their political passion, why not look for like-minded individuals on forums and websites that have been expressly created for the exchange of political opinions. People may even welcome what you have to say there, but in my opinion, people don’t log onto Facebook to engage in political angst. Am I wrong?
Do you remember that bar we all used to love, where people came to take a break from all their worries? I think the theme song captures what most people dropping into Facebook hope to find.
Odd Loves Company
Not Liked so much on Facebook: A new study from the Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project shows 18 percent of social networking site users have blocked, unfriended, or hidden someone because they don’t like their politics or how many posts they share about politics.