Interesting opinion piece on Facebook

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous' started by dcheather, May 24, 2013.

  1. dcheather

    dcheather Administrator

    Jul 29, 2005
    Yes, it's from the WashingtonTimes, and it's dated April 3rd, but bear with me here:

    I was googling about Facebook and forums to see what others have written about the two, since FulhamUSA is a bit at a crossroads at the moment. And I really don't dig about just going to a Facebook group for many of the reasons above. <Plus, there is your full name there for all to see and realize that was a turn off the last time we addressed this issue 2 years ago.>

    I just found it interesting because I agree with many of the points made by the author and have been thinking about this issue of discourse and civility on the internet for some time. I'm not sure it is just limited to Facebook though. Every time I read a news article with a comments section below it can be very scary what people write sometimes (from everything from the name calling to viewpoint of the comment). I think what I find most discouraging is that I think the author is correct when he states "Facebook has hardened the lines over ideas and philosophies rather than providing a forum of free-flowing discussion aimed at coming to a consensus, or at least an understanding of others’ points of views. Facebook may be reflecting the division of the country into red and blue spheres, but it seems as though the social network has only widened the anti-social fissures." Although I still just use Facebook for just keeping up with "friends," but in reality almost all my Facebook "friends" are either old coworkers, acquaintances, and sometimes people I have only "met" online. I very much prefer to meet-up with my true friends the traditional way, seeing them in person.

    Have any of you noticed the above happening? Is the future of our political discourse forever caught in Facebook likes or retweets when someone approves of your thoughts on politics, and ad hominem attacks when one doesn't? And are most users online sticking to reading material or forums that validate their own beliefs while not even trying to understand why another person holds a differing viewpoint? To me it's scary and baffling how childish our society has become.
  2. BarryWhite

    BarryWhite Well-Known Member

    Sep 24, 2011
    Newburgh, IN
    Not only do I believe there is a lack of civility in social media I belive the same could be said for the main stream media. The art of discourse is a fading social skill I fear.
  3. SoCalJoe

    SoCalJoe Well-Known Member

    Sep 5, 2006
    Walnut, CA
    Thanks for posting Heather, I would agree with the author in some aspects. The written word is so much more damaging (since there is a constant reminder just a click away) than when at a get together and people are discussing politics or social issues. When there is a disagreement at a bbq, 99% of the time people will agree to disagree and change the subject. I'm regularly on FB to keep up w/family and friends, most all my family is up north and many of my closest friends are spread out over the country so it's great to be in contact with them. I steer away from polarizing topics on FB because it doesn't interest me and while I never have 'de-friended' someone I simply use the feature where you can stop seeing their posts. I don't think FB or twitter have made things more anti-social per se, but the ability to eviscerate someone in 40 characters or less is too tempting for some people. Which leads me to twitter, to be honest I have no desire whatsoever to join, even though I can see the redeeming features of it. For me I believe people are more and more a prisoner of their phones (or should I say pocket sized computers).
  4. dcheather

    dcheather Administrator

    Jul 29, 2005
    Joe, I guess you're right. ... again.html

    I can't imagine this person ever saying something like this out loud where there were people he wasn't familiar with, but to the whole world on twitter or Facebook? Yup. :roll:

    But I guess the question may be did the art of polite discourse on politics ever exist?
  5. HatterDon

    HatterDon Moderator

    Mar 18, 2006
    Peoples Republic of South Texas
    Yes, it did, Senator. The onset of 24/7 "news" has pretty much ensured that it wont again. Facebook is also home to what really can only be called "hate sites" -- which exist only to produce incendiary photograph captions and rants. There's a huge market for them, but you can easily block them.

    As far as using your own name, that's not really necessary. Among the people I see posting regularly on my friend's threads are such luminaries as "Tom Foolery" and "Jennie H. Whatserface."

    In all the time I've been on FB, I've only been spooked enough to delete a "friend" once. I am used to being in crowds where my politics, my religion, my taste in sports is in a minute minority of my friends. It doesn't bother me, and I actually do have decent conversations with them -- mostly about non-political and non-religious topics, of course.

    The major complaint I have about FB -- aside from the capricious way Facebook's overlords change features for no apparent reason -- is the same one I have with the Internet: incorrect information lives forever and is disseminated widely.
  6. pettyfog

    pettyfog Well-Known Member

    Jan 4, 2005
    I would submit that my own FB crowd has become much more civil, recently. I would suggest a certain 'Fear Factor'.
    See somewhat related post.
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