Political Discussion on Facebook
Topics for Debating
People say that there are certain things you should avoid discussing while at work, things like religion and politics. There is some validity to this because these topics can bring out some pretty raw and passionate feelings from people; these emotions can quickly escalate the debate and cause unnecessary tension as well. With the increasing popularity of social media sites, like Facebook, over the years these same guidelines can easily apply there too.
For many years I obeyed these rules but the last few years I have ventured across that line occasionally. My voyage usually wasn’t religious but was more political.
I guess I just reached a breaking point with some of my older co-workers who would just regurgitate what cable news was telling them to believe so I started to respond to their comments. I didn’t respond just to respond though; I chose to say what needed to be shared to get the whole story out there not just the sound bites.
I did learn, many years ago, that talking to someone with differing opinions in a calm and controlled manner is the best way. If both sides are talking with their voices raised is the conversation really going to be productive?
Do you avoid controversial issues with your friends on Facebook?
We all have friends and acquaintances who don’t think exactly as we do, I know my wife and I don’t always see eye to eye politically and that is perfectly fine with me.
When I am having a political conversation with someone I don’t engage in a ‘who can raise their voice higher’ or call the other person more names approach. I prefer to present my opinions and why I have them, of course I share why I don’t necessarily agree with their position.
This style has usually been effective for me because discussing issues like civilized adults is what our founding fathers did way back when they had disagreements much larger than what we deal with now.
Unfortunately my debating style isn’t 100% fool proof as I recently discovered while discussing a few things with a former co-worker.
I’m not a huge sharer of things I see on Facebook but I will hit the like button on things I enjoy because they are funny, I agree with them, etc. Unbeknownst to me my former co-worker was becoming more and more upset at what I liked since it would then become visible in his feed that Facebook displays.
Less than a week before we had a debate about a political topic, all was going fine until he got bored with our verbal jabbing because he used the word ignorant in a response to one of my opinions. I recognize that people will never be able to always see the other person’s positions but that is not an excuse to call names, period. Of course I said as much and preached to keep the dialog civil; his response was that he was keeping it civil. As soon as name calling is introduced I pass on continuing the conversation, if you resort to school yard conversations I will take the hint that the adults are done talking.
Free Speech Online
Apparently I liked something that finally set him off, I don’t even remember what it was but I’m guessing it was something about guns since he is a huge gun fan.
Long story short he had to "unfriend" me because he couldn’t do it anymore, seeing what I liked was just too much for him to have to endure.
Of course I responded with my first amendment right; his rebuttal was he supported my right but couldn’t believe what I liked.
My next argument was to just ignore what he didn’t like since that is what we all do anyway right? When I scroll through my Facebook feed I see stuff I don’t care about so I just go right by it, apparently this wasn’t something he was capable of doing.
This whole experience hasn’t forced me to change who I am because I knew someone in my past who can’t handle me expressing my opinions. This country’s foundation is based on certain rights and most will appreciate someone utilizing these rights, except my former friend. I guess it all works out, if you can’t respect my opinion and have adult conversations, with grown-up disagreements; I probably don’t want to consider you a friend anyway.