Last night I did something that I never ever do. Something that I told myself I would never lower myself to. I engaged in a Facebook argument. I know, I know you must be thinking what on earth possessed you to participate in such tom foolery, but I guess I just a momentary lapse of sanity.
I won’t go into the details of what this argument was about but I will give you the basic details. One my friends, a very close friend actually, shared an article about pop culture news that criticized a social view that I hold and called people who share this opinion a rather horrible name. Nearly every comment below proceeded to talk about how bad the people of this social group are, and reading these comments this ignited a fire in me and I on an impulse I added a comment onto the thread defending this social group.
Needless to say, hell ensued after that. The argument got to the point where no one was actually trying to understand anyone’s point of view. It was just a game of “who can make the other person look bad” while attempting to twist every word that was said.
After all of this I was so frustrated that I deleted all of the comments that I had made in the thread and after mulling the whole ordeal over in my head I just went ahead and deactivated my account altogether. This move wasn’t really a split second decision. I had been thinking about it for a long time. It just got to the point where my Facebook feed was such a negative place. Everyone was constantly posting articles about people that they hate or think are idiots, or just complaining in general.
I just feel like the benefits of Facebook are outweighed by the grief and annoyance that it causes me every time I go on it. For the past couple of months I haven’t posted anything on Facebook accept for articles that I have written. I haven’t made a status update or added a picture since before the summer of 2014 began. I go on about every week to check my messages and notifications then hightail it out of there before I see something crazy on my news feed.
I wholeheartedly believe in the fact that everyone is entitled to their own beliefs but I just think that you can have your own beliefs without belittling other people’s and that was what I was (unsuccessfully) trying to get across in that comment thread.
As far as the situation last night goes I don’t consider myself blameless at all. My comment was laced with a lot of added snark that probably wasn’t helping my case. But it’s almost like comment threads about social/political/religious subjects just bring out the worst in people.
I love hearing other people’s thoughts and opinions, the beauty of individuality is that there’s always something new to learn. In real life and even here on WordPress I have wonderful conversations (not arguments) with people who have different points of view than me. I think that social media can be a wonderful place where you can learn, share, and engage with people that you may not have otherwise; but on the same hand it can get really ugly and bring out a dark side in people. Which I never really experience firsthand because I avoid Facebook/Twitter fights like the plague.
My friend and I actually talked about the situation and resolved the whole thing civilly. Sometimes you just say things, or rather type them, in the heat of the moment that you may not fully mean but some people take these arguments so far and try to demean people through their comments. But even when the conversation was over and I had removed myself from it there were still people (not my friend) that continued to comment about me and try discredit what I was saying. It’s like they were actively enjoying trying to tear down my beliefs which made me feel pretty sick.
I did have other reasons why I wanted to leave Facebook, but this was just the last straw. I don’t want to be a part of social media forum where I feel like I have to choose between sitting back while people make fun of and demean my beliefs or engaging in pointless conversations where people are only interested in tearing you down and not listening to your opinion at all.
Right now I feel much better off without Facebook. However, there are downsides. I am losing a valuable tool for sharing articles that I write and I am losing one of the ways that stay in contact with a lot my friends, especially the ones who live in different countries. Maybe I’ll decide to activate my account later and just go back to keeping my mouth shut, or maybe I’ll just let it stay dormant. I don’t know.
In some ways I feel like I’ve let people scare me off of Facebook but then I also think that if something is only bringing negativity into your life then you should take charge and eliminate it.
What are your thoughts? Do you ever feel like social media outlets are a breeding ground for hatred and bigotry?