Posted tagged ‘CNN’

07.01.17 “Get off Facebook,” she said.  (In which I get lectured on FB’s sole purpose.)

July 1, 2017

Facebook is a free-speech zone, for better or worse.

I got under the skin of a bunch of people earlier this week, when I posted this on Facebook:

I hereby declare: with occasional exceptions, I will no longer like profile picture updates or pics of themselves people post. (I have unfollowed a couple of people already due to selfie pollution.)

I received more comments on this little expression of exasperation than I usually do. When a couple of people asked me why I felt the need to post this, I replied that I was making a point about self-absorption. Some then accused me of being self-absorbed for expressing my view.

So far, fair ‘nuff. If I’m going to post (or blog, for that matter), I have to accept that not everyone is going to like what I have to say and cherish their right and duty to call me out.

A bit more background. My FB friends consist of a nice (in my view) mix of old friends, recent friends, and many fellow political activists from my neck of the woods. I don’t tend to post much that is personal – the majority of my content has to do with politics and social issues. I expect that some of my personal friends probably hid my feed long ago, because they are uninterested in these topics or disagree with my views about them.

By the same token, I have hidden some of my friends over time, because I am not that interested in their family vacations, their hobbies, or because 85.3%* of their posts are their own picture.

Yeah, I am turned off by people who are too passionate about themselves. Some of you won’t blame me in this era of the Narcissist in Chief. Others will find me to be harshly and unfairly judgmental. (I own being judgmental and said so in response a comment I got).

But, my post was not an attack on any individual. Neither did I declare self-promotion to be illegal for anyone who engages in it or their audiences who can’t get enough.

Then, this this popped up in the comments:

I think its BS and judgmental to make that statement. Facebook was not actually intended as a method for you to scream your political opinions at everybody. It was intended as a way to help friends stay connected and keep updated about each others lives. Unfriend people if your not close enough to them to want to look at their pictures. But I think it’s incredibly self absorbed to pass judgment on people using facebook for its intended purpose. I really truly do not care if you don’t want to like my photos. If all you want is politics stick to a blog and get off facebook. [emphasis added; grammatical errors in original]

Wow.

This came from the daughter of an old friend, a young woman I was once close to. Let’s call her “Jane” – no need to drag her real name through the mud.

I just have to laugh at Jane’s declaration of Facebook’s “intended purpose.” I wonder: does she have a direct line to Mark Zuckerberg? As I seem to recall, Zuckerberg created FB as a way for college students to find potential dates.

Further, FB now claims two billion members. Might there not be room among the billions to use the platform for a variety of purposes like getting dates, sharing selfies, political organizing, news dissemination, coordinating relief to disaster zones, seeking advice, or whatever?

And that’s what I found most stunning in Jane’s complaint: she is a trying to control others’ right to free speech, declaring what is acceptable not only for herself, but for all the rest of us. Sorry all you two billion people: henceforth you may use FB only under Jane’s guidance and approval. Right.

Here’s my harsh judgmentalism, again: I am offended by anybody who would argue not only to suppress free speech, but also – specifically –  to clamp down on sharing information and opinions about the most important issues affecting billions of human beings across the globe.

(My FB posts this week have been about transgender rights, Germany’s approval of same-sex marriage, a powerful Washington Post editorial on Trump, the quality of CNN news coverage, plastic in the oceans, my respect for Canada, and an analysis of communism/socialism/social democracy. Yeah, you’re right: your selfies are far more important – and legitimate – than my “scream[ing]” about politics.)

It’s interesting to note that Jane had never hidden me or unfriended me. She still hadn’t by the time I came upon her screed the next day, so I did the honor.

I got the last word in that comments string: “Isn’t it beautiful that we all get to be irritated by different things on FB?” Ahhh, the joy of a free world.

*Exact figure courtesy of Fox News.

PS. Dear Readers: you may have missed me in recent months. I have found it hard to write in blog-length form about anything, while being in a state of rage about everything. Maybe this post will unblock my muse and I’ll resume blogging more frequently. Otherwise, I encourage you to follow me on FB. All my posts there are public, meaning that we do not have to be mutual friends for you to see what I have to say. To find me on FB, know that I am the Keith Berner in Takoma Park, MD. (Sadly, I’m not the only Keith Berner on FB – another one is a race car driver in Ohio.) Or you can try this link (I’m not sure if links to FB content work).

©2017 Keith Berner