Monday, October 7, 2013

Trying to Stay Neutral

August of 2012 I posted this on facebook:

Happy Facebook People!  
There has been an unusually increased amount of drama lately on facebook due to the upcoming elections in the States! A friendly, loving reminder to my friends and family on here that neither politics nor religion are good topics for facebook. There are thousands of other sites and spaces to discuss and debate such things both in the company of people you agree with and people you disagree with. Even on facebook, there are groups that cater to the support and discussion of various religious/non-religious and political affiliations. There is no faster way to alienate your friends and family who have slightly or very different beliefs from you than to share something on facebook that either hurts them or they strongly disagree with.  
That being said, you are at liberty to write or post whatever you wish to (just about) on facebook. Aside from the facebook moderators, no one can stop you! A reminder that anything you post is fair game to be commented on, as facebook is an open forum to your facebook friends, built to facilitate exactly that kind of interaction and communication. If you don’t want to have a conversation about something you post, don’t post it! Or, post it on one of the many other sites that are built for sharing but not for commenting. Or, join a group on facebook that caters to your specific interest and post it there! I recommend blogging.  
As for me and my facebook, I will unhappily delete you as a facebook friend if you post something that I find to be hurtful towards me or others (I make an exception here for family, but dear family, it is all but guaranteed that I don’t see you in my feed at all if you post political or religious things!). There is no ill will meant towards you if I delete you, simply a wish for myself to enjoy my facebook experience a little bit more minus the political and religious contention.  
With that in mind, I do think it is important for you to care and be proactive about the things you believe in, whether they be political, religious, or other in nature! If you truly care about something, do something about it. In the case of politics and religion, something other than posting on facebook.

While I think most of that is still wonderfully applicable, as I've been thinking about it the last few days, I think it might be lacking just a little bit of the nuance that goes with the topic.

For me, I try very hard to post pretty neutral things. I love facebook for the ability it gives me to follow the lives of my family and friends in some visual detail aside from the other methods I have of keeping in touch with them. And I use it primarily as a place to share pictures and little details as they happen. I use this blog to fill in many of the details and other things like Instagram and Twitter to occasionally fill in some of the other details. And for more private things, I resort to journals and things of those nature. I don't have a problem discussing most things with people face to face when those topics are addressed, but where facebook and my more public social outlets are concerned, I try to remain sociable, to better facilitate keeping my friendships amiable.

To put it more plainly, I value the friendship of those I am closest to more than I value the ability to say whatever I want here or on facebook. If I really want to post my political and religious thoughts, I can make another blog that is specific to them, or find one of the many websites devoted to such discourse. But here, I want to share the basic things that are going on. I want it to be a comfortable space for all of my loved ones. And where I do still occasionally post religious and/or political related stuff, even those posts are still pretty neutral. Never judgmental, never attacking, never extreme. In fact, most of my most extreme posts are grammar related. ;) Occasional lash back is, of course, expected there.

Do whatever works for you. Just keep in mind that when you make posts that are aggressive and slightly abusive of something you don't agree with, even if you think what you're saying is true, you might be driving a wedge between yourself and someone who loves you. You can blame the other person for being offended, but it is your unnecessary and unproductive action that is the root of the problem. The same can be said for religious and political posts of a more positive note. Be at all excessive in the frequency of such posts and you may unintentionally drive people away from your site/page. It's a balance. In my opinion, it is better, at least on facebook, to stick with the neutral and life-centered stuff. But that's just me. :)

(Note: Brandon and I were talking about this recently and he pointed out that sometimes because I'm trying so hard to neutral, I inadvertently water down my message. In other words, I'm so busy trying to be nice and not hurt anybody's feelings that I pull all of the passion from what I'm saying and end up sounding fairly weak-sauce. He is particularly familiar with this as he is most often privy to my more passionate frustrations at insignificant (or somewhat significant) details. There is a balance of being polite and firm. I probably err too much on the side of polite, but for now that will have to do.)

1 comment:

  1. Well said, Geneva! Thank you so very much. You put my feelings into words.