Sunday, March 31, 2013

So ... what is Facebook to YOU?

Gail Lindenberg, a long-time friend and Facebook friend, recently posted this as her status:

"It's not what you say, it's not how you say it either, it's what you believe and what you do about it."

Gail's status resulted in a discussion about what posts appear on Facebook.  I immediately thought about comments made by five of my FB friends in the last month about hating all the political posts they see.  Hmmm ... I certainly must be in that hated group because many of my posts are political in nature - and I mentioned that in my reply to Gail's status, including the fact that I would probably be dropped by some FB friends.  Then Gail said this:

 "... Much of what I post politically fulfills my need to speak my mind. I know there are some who have blocked my posts because they are entrenched in their own views. As for me, I like to know what others think. It informs my own opinion. When I watch a debate, I want to see both sides. When I taught debate, my students were trained to research pro and con so that they could point out fallacies and support strong logic. Our public debates are, all too often, a series of pundit points parroted. ... We do change the world with our views. We sustain ignorance with silence."

So, why do I post political messages ... and political information?  Because I'm doing something about my beliefs. I'm trying to change the world even though many people don't think that can happen - especially on Facebook.  But I'm a history teacher.  I KNOW people can change the world because I teach that very thing every single day.  Ordinary people who voiced opinions, ordinary people who got involved in whatever way they could.  Ordinary people like you and me who made a difference - and changed the world.  Maybe I can be one of them.

I just went through my Facebook newsfeed covering several months.  Here are the topics my Facebook friends tend to post most often:

Football               Photos               Recipes
God & Jesus        Quotes               Dogs
Rescue dogs        Gardening          Politics
Arts & crafts        Basketball         Jokes
Cats                       Music                FB games
Military                 Fashion             Children
Grandchildren       Movies             Books
Hockey                  Hiking               Education
Memes                   Sex                    Partying
Travel                     Work                 College stuff
Lost pets                Shopping           Baseball
Celebrities             Love life           Science
Health info             Horses              Community events
Soccer                    Weather            History

I'm not interested - at all - in 26 of those 42 topics. However, there's only one that would cause me to hide someone from my newsfeed (and that's only if the posts became oppressive or rude).  The other topics I just ignore and move on.

When my five Facebook friends mentioned their disgust with political comments, I immediately thought I should pull back ... ration my status posts that are political in nature.  But, wait just a darn minute ... that would be putting my own interests on a shelf, thereby letting others determine what's important to me!

We come from different backgrounds and have different experiences.  We have different opinions and are in different stages of life.  We are individuals, therefore our Facebook involvement will be as unique as we are.

So ... party on, Facebook friends!  Do your thing!  If I'm not interested in certain topics, I'll move to the next post.  I'll celebrate our differences - and I will enjoy your Facebook friendship.