October 2, 2015

Facebook PSA

Grinter's Sunflower Field, Lawrence KS.

For no reason other than I have missed writing, I have made a commitment to myself to post once a week for the rest of the year.  So, this is me, jumping right in......

I love Facebook. LOVE.  It makes it easy to keep in touch with folks I see in REAL life.  It is also convenient for staying connected with my Imaginary Friends in the Box --  my online friends.  Like many folks, I have a diverse set of FB friends.  I tend to lean Libertarian, but I have friends that swing far Right and far Left.  And never the twain shall meet, right? However, I appreciate having these perspectives (most of the time) even when my blood pressure rises.

I know for other people this is not always the case and I have seen friendships scorched to the ground because of Facebook.  A few times, I have been the one blocking/unfriending.  Other times, I was the one blocked/unfriended.  Eventually, I made peace with the end of those relationships because they were toxic and unhealthy for me in the long run, regardless of Facebook's involvement.  And I moved on.

But something happened a few weeks ago to a friend of mine that made me realize that a lot of folks simply do not understand how Facebook works.  Things could quickly get ugly with tensions already running high on a myriad of topics such as Planned Parenthood, Trump, gun control (or lack thereof), etc.

Here's what happened: a few weeks ago,  Friend A blocked and unfriended Friend B.  Friend A wrote a nasty diatribe claiming that Friend B was posting offensive material.  The problem is, I could clearly see that Friend B had NOT posted anything objectionable and furthermore, Friend B is the least disagreeable person you will ever meet.

In fact, Friend B is the type of person who goes out of her way to NOT be offensive.

I was curious about what the hell could have happened and then I noticed something.  In my timeline, I will often see news article posted that has a friend associated with it.
Something like this:
Joe Black via Huffington Post

That means that Joe actually SHARED the article from the Huffington Post.

I also see other news articles posted that has a friend associated with it containing this verbiage:
Joe Black likes The Kansas City Star

Do you see the difference?  In the first example, Joe clearly shared the specific article with his friends.  However!   In the second example, The Kansas City Star is sharing an article and saying "Hey, Joe likes us!"  but that does NOT mean that Joe liked that specific article.

As we move forward into what will be a contentious election season, we all need to keep in mind that social media has weird algorithms and often, is not as straightforward as one would think.  Also, folks can mistakenly click on things.  Accidents happen!

Listen, I am the first sort of person to jump to conclusions and then angrily tap out responses because Someone On the Internet Is Wrong.

However, this recent experience has made me see that I need to be kinder and give more folks the benefit of the doubt.

Will you join me?


Paula said...

You bet!

Cara said...

Welcome back!

I think people aren't always aware that things they "like" show up for others to see either. A couple of years ago a friend liked a cartoon that made pretty offensive and sweeping statements about Christianity. I sent her a private message that, while I could see why she found it funny, it was also pretty offensive. I told her I knew it didn't reflect how she treated people and I wasn't upset, but I wanted her to see how it felt to people like me. (I changed the language to the alternate perspective so she could see how nasty it would be if I posted it that way.) She was shocked to learn that it had showed up in my news feed at all. She had no idea that by clicking like she was effectively endorsing it and it would show up with her name attached to it.