Do you ever see a post on Facebook that you passionately disagree with?
I am talking of course about the type of person that shares videos and articles reflecting their political ideology. It is natural to react negatively to these posts when they pop-up on your news feed. The question rushes into consciousness. Do I feel comfortable enough with this person to engage in public political discourse? Is it worth my time to comment?
Every person is different. Some like to comment their disapproval. However, others may turn their cheek, scrolling down their screen and instead watch a silly cat video.
Either response is completely appropriate. First, lets explore the more common approach, ignoring the post. It is not worth your time to explain why that person who sees the ‘gold and white dress’ is color-blind (or is black and blue?). Nope.
Taking the high road is often the best social media behavior. Like the pointless dress debate, your online squabbling will not accomplish anything. The other party will likely not understand your perspective. Plus, how can you win?
At the end of the thread nothing is ever settled because both people will likely see themselves as right. However, there are no rules on social media that prohibit one from commenting or reacting to a post. The other option is to argue for your side. Sometimes you feel really passionate against the post and want to ‘set the record straight.’
It is not selfish or egotistical to leave a comment, just get ready to defend your point. Intervening also benefits the quiet onlookers. Other people viewing may take the time to read the back and forth debate. They learn different perspectives, ideas and information.
Many people get their news from social media feeds such as Facebook. Today, we are experiencing a widening information gap between the older and younger generations. The baby boomers tend to get their news from newspapers and cable news segments.
The same cannot be said for the Millenials.
Young people develop much of their political opinions from social media platforms. We personally design what content we want to read and watch by liking, following and blocking groups. This type of formatting undoubtedly creates an ‘echo-chamber.’ We are trapped in a box of information that is limited exclusively to our own ideologies. Reading political arguments on Facebook presents both sides of an argument. You will have better luck trying to capture a leprechaun then finding an article that objectively reports the issues.
Conversing with people that do not share the same beliefs is mutually beneficial. Reading political ‘beef’ may be the only source for personal political growth.
Regardless of what side of the social media debate you take; it is paramount to understand our changing platform by which young people get their news, develop ideas and opinions. Cable news’ influence is diminishing. Social media has opened the door for more democratic discussion while also narrowing our perspectives.
The views presented by our online buddies peers are impacting us by expanding our political horizons and making us more informed.
One last thing, if you do decide to passionately refute my political posts in the future, my mom will strike you down.