Earlier today a Facebook friend put up something on her personal social media. Typically I have a “keep scrolling” mentality and rarely make comments. But this particular topic is one that’s trending and I respect the person who posted it. So, I commented something. She, not surprisingly, disagreed and commented back. I responded and ended mine with a question. She answered back quickly and that was that. Imagine my surprise when a few hours later a mutual friend told me that she had hidden my comments and then further went on to delete them.
What troubles me the most about this all isn’t the fact that she disagreed with my opinion (and I hers), but the fact that she took the time to get rid of my comments. (sidenote: I didn’t care about this particular subject enough to go back and re-comment. It wasn’t a hill to die on; it was simply a matter of how we choose to parent).
But THIS is the trouble with social media and brings up a broader, more alarming mindset — that we can easily disengage with those around us that disagree. We can fill our feed with those that are like-minded. And oh? No, you don’t like what I just posted? A simple click of a button and your opinion/story/reasoning is poof! Gone. Hidden. Deleted. CANCELLED. Your opinion (read: you) no longer exist.
If my newsfeed was full of the same viewpoints, my life would be extremely sheltered and quite possibly naive. I’d show all the people who follow me that A. my opinion is obviously right. and B. I can silence you if I don’t agree.
This is extremely dangerous waters to be in. The cancel culture rears it’s ugly head on everything from when to potty train your child to, as we recently saw a few months ago, what political candidate you support.
We SAY we want “diversity” in our lives, but do we really? What we really want, if we’re being totally honest with ourselves, especially using social media platforms, is justification. *I’m* correct in my thinking about *my* beliefs, and I’m unwilling to hear the other side. Better yet, I’m unwilling to show the other side, by leaving the comments turned on.
And if we’re censoring (because let’s all admit, fundamentally, that’s what it boils down to) our own personal news feed, you can imagine that the social media mangers are clearly doing this on a much larger scale for their news outlet. Nothing is unbiased anymore.
So how can we do better?
I have a good friend Heather whose news feed on Facebook is a treasure trove of good, candid, open conversations. She posts thoughtful questions to discuss or trending articles to dissect. Her “Facebook friends” come from all socio-economical, educational, and color backgrounds. DISAGREEMENT is common, yet people are respectful. In fact, it’s welcomed. Because, as my friend likes to say, “If we know better, we can do better.” Disagreements can, and should, spark conversations. Conversations lead to discussions. And discussions, where ALL SIDES have a place at the table, lead to change. They lead to people with one opinion or one idea truly contemplating the “other side.” They lead to understanding.
And isn’t this, in 2021, truly the goal of everyone? To better understand, better respect, and better educate ourselves by surrounding ourselves with people who are NOT like us?
So, if you find yourself disagreeing with me on a topic, I’ll gladly hear you out. There’s a place for you, on my personal page, and here, at the Memphis Mom Co. In fact, you may even find yourself changing my perspective, to which I’d genuinely say, thank you for teaching me.