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Unfriendly Persuasion #NegativePosts #SocialMedia » Jolana Malkston
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Jan 252017

Remember when social media was new, a unique way to socialize, and a fun pastime? Hard, isn’t it, but I try.

I remember the endearing photos and videos my family and friends posted on Facebook to share their family activities and major milestones. On Facebook, I could see them all in one place instead of in individual emails or texts. It’s so convenient.

I enjoyed the crazy quizzes, and the charming memes of cute kitties, precious puppies, and adorable babies that made me smile or chuckle. My favorite is the meme of a ticked off cat hugging a sorrowful-looking dog. The cat says something like, “Tell me who called you a bad dog. I will punish them.” I actually laughed out loud at that one.

There were many amusing videos too, like the one of the cockatoo rocking out to Queen’s “Another One Bites the Dust.” He never missed a beat! I still smile when I think about it.

Well, folks, that was before partisan politics got its meathook into social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter and turned them into anti-social media sites. They have become repositories for hatred, intolerance, profanity, insults, threats, and all around rudeness on a monumental scale, overwhelming everything good about Facebook. It’s like scrolling through a minefield when I log in to see what my family and friends are up to.

Sometimes, against my better judgment, I respond to an outrageous post. I always regret it afterward. Having to defend myself against the insulting backlash just isn’t worth posting a sensible response. Friendly persuasion doesn’t change a closed mind that engages in unfriendly persuasion. What makes these intolerant individuals think they can persuade others to adopt their way of thinking by bullying and insulting them? It boggles the mind.

Recently, a friend who is a Trump supporter messaged me privately that she was awarded two tickets to the inauguration. She was excited about it but said she wouldn’t post it on Facebook because she was afraid there would be a hateful backlash from her liberal friends. How sad and troubling is that?

Just the other day, a family member posted on Facebook that she wouldn’t be using her Facebook account in the future because she couldn’t take all the negativity on the site any longer. She informed us all that from then on she would be posting her family photos and videos on Instagram and invited her friends and family to join her there. It was a very tempting invitation. I thought it over and I decided I will join Instagram, but I will continue posting on my Facebook and Twitter author pages.

My personal Facebook page is another matter. I decided I will go through and do some housekeeping. I won’t unfriend anyone–not yet anyway–but I’ll unfollow a lot of people I friended and pages I liked because of the offensive content of their frequent politically-charged and negative posts. We’ll still be Facebook friends, but I won’t see any of their posts. I’ll miss seeing their positive and friendly posts, but it’s a tradeoff that is necessary and acceptable for the sake of my elevated blood pressure and my sanity.

When I hear that the politically-charged rude and negative atmosphere on Facebook and Twitter has returned to one of civility, I’ll participate on my personal pages more fully again. Until then, “Hello, Instagram!”

  2 Responses to “Unfriendly Persuasion #NegativePosts #SocialMedia”

  1. Yep, we develop a visual medium that could bring Shakespeare or unfiltered news or wonderful movies into your home, and we get reality shows. We have an instrument for instant communication, and we use it to forward jokes or political diatribes. Why should Facebook, with all its possibilities, be any different?

    • Spot on, Paul. When presented with something new or revolutionary, the average human manages to find a way to bypass its potential for good or for progress and instead manages to find the most inane use for it.

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