I’ve been snoozing a lot of people on Facebook lately. I feel kinda bad about it.
As a defender of the First Amendment, I’m all about people being able to say what they want to say, and as a news literacy proponent, I think it’s unhealthy to surround myself with people who think only the way that I think.
What I don’t support are idiots. And they’re everywhere.
I’m not talking about people who can’t help themselves. I’m talking about educated, intelligent, capable folks who treat politics like it’s a sporting event — they’ll root for their team no matter how many fouls are called.
I’m fine with differences of opinion. I have a problem with differences of established fact. I just don’t want to hear it, anymore.
I could give you ample examples of how I actively seek out conversations with people who don’t believe the same things I believe. You get more of the story when you hear both sides. But when the other side is just blathering on about things that aren’t true, it’s just a waste of my time.
So I snooze them. It’s a way the app lets me block someone for 30 days. I don’t want to “unfriend” them or permanently block them. I just don’t want to see their stupid posts for a while.
A lot of people have what I call “internet cojones.” They will call people names and say things online that they would never say in person. It’s like the internet gives them a curtain to hide behind as they do their bullying.
That’s why we need more human interaction where you can read body language, see facial expressions and feel the temperature in the room. That’s why I like the cigar shop. It’s full of people who don’t agree with me politically, but we have civil conversations.
We can debate the issues, or if it’s going nowhere, we can change the subject and talk about the weather. If things heat up too much, someone else in the room will intercede. There’s a decorum that’s lacking online.
It’s like this column. I tend to steer clear of specific political issues. I don’t use this space to try to persuade anyone to come over to my side or to vote for a particular candidate. Being in the newspaper, I feel like you’ve invited me into your home for a couple of minutes, and I don’t want to offend my hosts.
That’s the thing about the cigar shop; you just want to relax and enjoy yourself, so you’re not out to pick fights with people. You want to be able to come back.
Social media is way different. It’s easy for like minds to congregate. And some people seem to derive pleasure from bullying others.
It’s fun for them to call people names and to push people around. Trying to share concepts like logic and facts is a lost cause. You might as well be dispensing medicine in a morgue — you ain’t savin’ anybody.
Snoozing people is not a First Amendment issue. They still have the right to say what they want to say. But I have the right to tune them out.
Thankfully, there’s only another year till the next general election. Then we can start all over again on 2024. I can’t wait. Hashtag: sarcasm.
© Copyright 2019 by David Porter who can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. At the rate I’m going, by the time the election comes around, I’ll be down to one friend on Facebook. And I’m married to her.