Recently I started a Facebook group which was supposedly going to focus on things political. The original intent was to offer a place where people could honestly and legitimately discuss matters of current political importance facing our nation and our own cities and towns. This was the intent, but the intent was nowhere near how it actually turned out. In fact, based on this experience, as well as other Facebook discussions I have read, I believe we need to redefine the name of Facebook to Faceless Book and we need to put it into a new category which I will dub “unsocial media.
The reason for the name change from Facebook to Faceless book is simple .As you know, many of us share our face as our profile picture. Of course, many do not. But that is not where my issue is. My issue is with the fact that people, when hiding behind the safety of their keyboard and monitor seem to have no trouble being insulting and rude to total strangers that they have chosen to engage in debate. Names such as idiot and moron are quite common. Now, I cannot help but wonder if these same people met somewhere in public and had a similar discussion, would they be so quick to become rude and taunting? Personally, I do not think so, not if they value their face in its current untarnished state.
I guess this topic seems to be relevant because this is supposed to be the season of “peace on Earth and Goodwill towards Men (and women). What the hell happened? We certainly do not have peace on earth, not even close. We live in constant fear of penetration of radical groups such as ISIS or mass murders such as recently was experienced in San Bernadino, California. That is not peace on earth. Each day we read something in the news that gives concern with regards to our status with Russia, who is as big a threat to our security as the radicalized murderers in various Middle Eastern countries. That is nowhere near the idea of Peace on Earth.
As far as Goodwill toward men, well you can forget that. Just spend some time trolling round on Facebook and it will quickly come to light that there is some much hate and mistrust I don’t know if we will ever recover. If one can make a broad assumption that Facebook is a microcosm of the society in which we live, then it is a very frightening place. Does that much racial hate really lie just beneath the surface of our society? It there that much distrust between persons of the Christian faith and other faiths. Or is it just that it is easy to be that person when sitting safely and anonymously behind your keyboard and monitor. After all, who is to hold us accountable for written words? It is just Facebook, right? Surely our words written to a total stranger can’t really be that hurtful, can they?
Who is to hold us accountable for written thoughts, indeed. That may sound like a tough question but it has a very simple answer. The person who is going to hold you accountable is yourself. I can only suggest to others that which I try to follow as well, that we all put some self-imposed filters on our written speech. Try to write as if you and the person you are debating are sitting in the same room having this conversation face to face. Try to filter out the hate and mean dialogue. I know, it is only Facebook, but it is a start. Maybe we can experience just a little good will towards one another, even if it is just on Facebook.
Those are my thoughts, what are yours?
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