Thu, Jun

Unsocial Media

PERSPECTIVE-About three years ago, I stopped posting my politically oriented articles on my Facebook timeline. Notwithstanding many of these articles were about local issues in Los Angeles and, therefore, would not be relevant to many of my friends scattered on the east coast, I did not want to force my opinions on others’ news feeds. 

Instead, I post most of them on Facebook Groups dealing with the issues. If the related threads devolve into a food fight, at least they are confined to the cafeteria and not the hallways. 

Facebook has increasingly become a soapbox for a hardcore group of users who share their ideological rants multiple times a day. Free speech is vital to our society, but someone moving the soap box from the street to another’s porch goes beyond being social. People have a right to share their opinions on social media or in many other forums. They don’t have to blast it electronically to everyone, but they do. 

However, there is no obligation to be considerate when someone intrudes on your space. Think of how you might deal with a telemarketer who ignores the no-call list or interrupts you at 9 AM on your day off. I can be a bulldog when I respond to a partisan post, also harsh, but never profane. I don’t apologize for my responses. If the posters do not like it, they can unfriend me. I will not take it personally. 

The Supreme Court decisions last week created an explosion among a handful of individuals who went berserk over them. My God, how could anyone dare cross their personal lines in the sand? A few resorted to barely disguised profanity (i.e STFU, f**k-g) Had the decisions gone the other way, it would have been the conservative fringe popping off about liberal bias and denial of religious rights. 

To a minority of Facebook users, the world is black and white. 

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Rights collide sometimes. How far can you take freedom of speech without infringing on, say, freedom of religion or the separation of church and state? It is a fuzzy region. 

I safely assume at least the vast majority of my Facebook friends follow the news through various sources. I will not bombard them with links to biased sources, or a personal diatribe against this figure or some issue. I do not want to turn their news feeds into a virtual version of MSNBC or FOX News. 

They can find my opinions easily enough. 

So please consider your friends before you launch World War III on Facebook. Find another battleground or start your own Facebook Group – it is very easy.


(Paul Hatfield is a CPA and former NC Valley Village board member and treasurer.  He blogs at Village to Village and contributes to CityWatch. He can be reached at: phinnoho@aol.com)







Vol 12 Issue 55

Pub: Jul 8, 2014