Ah, changing the world one facebook status at a time. Or at least, that seems to be the sentiment surrounding our current generation.
I am guilty of this. See, I currently find myself in a position where I’m pretty bored. I have about a week until my job starts and I find myself on the computer much more than I probably should be. Because of this, I’m being constantly bombarded with videos, statuses, and rants about things I don’t usually find myself caring much about. When I go into the real world, the issues I see plastered all over facebook don’t seem to be issues people are concerned with in “real life” conversation.
Recently, I watched a video by a popular, self-proclaimed “issues-driven media company.” In the video, it went on to explain how when a man tells a woman to smile, it is done so with underlying themes of control and misogyny. Out of frustration with what I deemed to be divisive rhetoric and a sprinkle of boredom, I shared the video, while inserting my two cents that I felt being told to smile was usually done out of honest intentions. To this, I saw the divide our country seems to be facing lately: half of the people agreed with me, while the other half did not. Fortunately, most of the people that responded did so in a very respectful manner and I felt there was good, honest discussion and good points made on both sides of the issue.
But, here’s where I feel like this was not even a necessary issue to discuss: after all was said and done, I didn’t feel validated. I simply felt bad. I consider myself a nice person, and for those who know me in real life, I think (most) would agree I am decent. But when I post debate-baiting things like this, there are some people who will completely change their mind about me, regardless of the interactions they’ve had with me in person. I feel torn. On one hand, I feel like I have interesting things to share with people and am good at keeping a level head when it comes to debate. On the other hand, I can’t expect the same from everyone, and people that I know and very much love are going to see me as a bad person if I share an opinion they differ with. Some might say “But who cares if they change their opinion about you? They’re just irrational then.” To that, I feel it’s just not worth the riff I’m imposing in my life.
The point I’m getting to is arguing on facebook is just not worth the baggage it brings for me. I never feel good about it, I possibly ruin the good standing I have with friends and acquaintances, and I bring about unnecessary drama in my life. I’m not changing anyone’s mind and am truthfully searching for validation of an opinion I already hold. I’m not alone in this. I think most people who post their opinions on the internet are doing the same thing. This made me think; what am I actually doing to help causes I feel strongly about? Unfortunately, the answer is nothing. I do absolutely nothing. This prompted some internal reflection. After thinking about it, I thought to myself, “You know what? If there are things I feel strongly about, don’t post about it on facebook. Get out in your community and do something.” Later today, I have an interview with the national wildlife federation to serve as an ambassador for wildlife at various events. Though this is a small step, I’ve come to the conclusion that this is much better than me getting into petty arguments on facebook with people I love and this will actually make a real, tangible difference on the issues I feel strongly about.
Hypocrisy: Claiming to have moral standards to which one’s actions do not conform.