Original image found at syracuse.com
My days of posting and commenting on any political posts on Facebook are over.
It came to a head last week when my cousin unfriended me on a Facebook post that I created about US Senate candidate Misty K. Snow here in Utah. The discussion about the pure and utter disgust of the type of comments out on the linked Salt Lake Tribune article was ironic when my cousin came full circle, with his first complaint about my request to “avoid the comments” and then his ending admission that he doesn’t “usually look at comments”
The conversation was mostly civil with some clever jabs here and there. Regardless, it had been almost two years to the day since his sister (another cousin) got into a heated conversation and unfriended AND blocked me on Facebook. Two people from the same immediate family unfriending their cousin on a social media network.
Not Much In Common
I have noticed that of the more than 350 friends I have on Facebook, that a lot are my family and friends that I grew up with. And most of them are ultra conservative, highly religious, Republican or Mormon. And most of them are assigned all of those labels. So that’s a good 50% of my Facebook friends that I have little to nothing in common with me, save an occasional interest in LEGO, technology, music or movies.
Unfriending or Unfollow
Some have asked “then if you have nothing in common, why don’t you just unfriend them all?” And to that I reply just about every single time “I unfollow them” which is to remain friends with them, but just not see anything they post in my timelime. That means, no Obama hatred, no “I love guns” and no promoting one’s religion ad nauseam. And that also means avoiding the back and forth discussion of why I unfriended them. To me, unfriending is pretty harsh, especially for someone you’ve know for years but just don’t agree with their political shit storms. And if I can avoid conflicts, which is something I try to do with most people in my life, all the better if we do happen to run into each other at a family gathering or find we have more in common past divided political stances.
I get heat from some that know this is how I manage my Facebook account with comments like “You don’t want to see opposing views?” or “Why do you not want to see someone’s posts?” And my answer is that I really don’t need to see divisive posts. My purpose for being on Facebook isn’t to stir shit up, even though I’m sure some of my political posts and articles have done exactly that. But I just don’t care to see that anymore. And I don’t care to post those anymore. What I thought were posts that were informative or hoping to provoke thought and interest, turns out are just fuel for the “I am right and you are wrong” crowd.
As for commenting on others political posts, there are some that I can be safe to leave my thoughts on and not have it be a fire storm. But even those get watched by others and every so often, my thoughts on things like gun control get vetted by some of my “I must own every gun” friends and I get the cold shoulder the next time I am visiting with them in person. Plus, I get involved in a conversation so much that it distracts me from other things. I anticipate replies to a post and end up checking Facebook a lot in short periods of time to see who replied and with what. I am trying to remove distractions from my life to focus more on what I enjoy doing and completing some of the many projects that have gone longer than they should with being worked on.
Going forward, my posting on Facebook will be minimal and not political. Things that I really want to talk about like movies, vacations, music, podcast episodes and other subjects are where I am trying to refocus my attention on to this blog. And that includes political topics. If it’s going to get heated, I’d like to see more activity here than on a social media site that is more like a toxic environment than an enjoyable place to hang out on.
If Facebook is nothing like this for you, then consider yourself fortunate to have less confrontational friends or are better at managing the heated discussions than I am.