I admit that I am late to the Facebook party. Until recently, I only accessed Facebook to see pictures of my grandchildren. Early this year, I decided to get serious about social media, and as such have been much more involved on Facebook. Some of what I am seeing and reading concerns me a lot. And I decided that I can’t ignore this and only complain to likeminded friends any longer. So, I am asking for more civility on Facebook. It is possible that civility can reap great personal rewards, and without any loss of one’s beliefs.
First, the easy part. What is to be gained by posting photos that imply one is drunk, or even partying to excess? Are these things we want our grandmothers or employers or future employers to see? And what makes us think we have the right to post photos of others that do not present them in a positive light? It isn’t funny, and it isn’t nice. Stop it. And that is not even recommending that we get permission from others before posting photos of them, even when we see nothing wrong in posting the photos. And many of us do this, (me too!) most likely without even thinking. And why would we want would- be- bad people to know we are out of town? Why not wait until we are back home to post the photos of our ski trip to Colorado? That would seem safer.
Now for the even harder message. Stop the negative political and religious messages, which are often coupled with (especially the political postings) profanity. What makes us think that we should alienate others? This has nothing to do with whether those “others” agree with our views, or not. We are in a bad place in our country at this time, especially related to our very polarized political views. And we have an absolute right to those. So please, do not misunderstand my message. It matters not if we are a staunch Republican, a liberal Democrat, a committed Libertarian, or someone who would really like to overthrow the government, regardless of which party is in office. Why would we want to be so negative and flaming in public about our views? Why would we take such a risk to offend others, even those we care about? Do we really think we are going to change anyone’s mind with these postings? I don’t think so. Our close friends and family likely already know our politics, and are not going to be moved to agree with our position on these issues due to a Facebook posting. I believe that most of these rantings are just ventilating, without considering the negative consequences. Do we consider that someone in our sphere of influence may have the completely opposite opinion about these same issues, and that a not so positive opinion can be formed in their mind of us due to our negative postings? And this is not about hiding our views, or pretending to be someone that we are not. It is about being respectful about the views of others. In the right setting, we can certainly share our opinion about these issues, but why do so in a negative manner in a public forum, and run the risk of alienating others? Do we really need to do that? I don’t think so.
And while I am running the risk of alienating some of my readers, let me add that I think the same is true about weapons. Many people also have very polarized views about guns and gun control. But do we really need to be so negative and public about our views regarding guns and gun control? Are we going to change opinions with strong and negative public emotion? Again, I don’t think so.
Although I do not reply to the Facebook postings that offend me, I am offended nonetheless. My political (and other) views may be wrong in your eyes. But they are mine, and I maintain the right to have them without rebuke from others. So do others.
Just think about it. Let’s all strive to be more civil.