A few days ago, I contemplated the pros and cons of deleting my Facebook account. Most of us have probably done that at one point or another – usually after a distasteful experience. I decided to do a little study of my own. I asked if anyone else had considered deleting their Facebook account. A whopping 100% said yes. Like me, most sited staying connected with friends and relatives as the reason they didn't. Some said their solution was to reduce their Facebook friend list.
It is rare that anyone is disrespectful on my posts. I rarely send out a friend request and when I receive one, I look at their page before I accept. I'm looking for more than evidence of scammers or to determine if I know this person. I'm reading their comments to see how they respond. If they are disrespectful to other commenters, I delete the request. If their page is full of political posts, or if their posts are disrespectful, I delete the request. It isn't that I disapprove of these people. I have simply learned to be selective. I want my Facebook experience to be enjoyable.
I appreciate and even invite alternate viewpoints - and some people are pretty passionate about their beliefs. I see nothing wrong with that. You can passionately state your feelings without insulting or virtually attacking others. When people get rude, insulting or disrespectful to other commenters on a post, I delete the conversation. If a person repeatedly does this, I will unfollow, unfriend or block them. I don't feel the need to defend my solution because this doesn't affect their ability to go elsewhere with their method of communication. To me, belittling and/or insulting other commenters crosses the line from debate, or even heated discussion, to argument. No one benefits from an argument. (Note: It takes at least two people to have an argument and it doesn't matter who started it. We each have the option of letting it continue or escalating it.)
There is a growing idea on Facebook that people who lack education about a subject should not offer their opinion. To me, that's just plain arrogance. The fact that an opinion or idea doesn't fit current belief or isn't supported by the latest studies doesn't mean it has no merit. How many times have you questioned the results of a study, only to discover years later in another study that you were right? It happens all the time.
Doggedly sticking to current information can actually be detrimental. If we accepted every new study and every new idea, life would be confusing and unstable. Sometimes it seems that for every scientist who declares one thing, we have another declaring the opposite. Scientists are just people with different outlooks. (And sometimes different monetary sources.) The outcome of any study depends on how it was conducted. What was the purpose, how was the information collected and who interpreted the results? Even if the results were accurate, some important details may have been disregarded. If you want to prove your product is best, you don't include the part that says it could be a carcinogen and further testing would be needed to prove that. Very little is absolute, and truthfully, we only progress when someone challenges current information. The uneducated person with their unconventional logic and benefit of personal experience could have the answer to an important question.
In conclusion, how arrogant is it of us to silence people because they don't agree with what we know to be true? How logical is it to silence someone because they have not learned to see things from the perspective of the rest of the world?
Silencing people is censoring. Wouldn't we all be better off if we simply learned to express ourselves in a less contentious way? If we think something is incredibly stupid, perhaps we should just roll our eyes, mutter to ourselves or even bang our head on the keyboard – and not let our fingers do the talking.
Question: Can a political post on Facebook make a difference, or is it just a good way to make enemies? Answer: Yes – it can do both.
Here are 7 ways Political Facebook posts can be made more effective.
Any time you post something, it has the potential to influence a person’s perspective. Accurate facts are more effective than inaccurate facts. Inaccurate facts are almost always biased. Misquotes and quotes attributed to the wrong people are either poorly researched or intended to mislead. If this happens very often, people stop listening.
Some people won’t like the truth and they may try to twist it to their way of thinking. Most people appreciate being told the truth so that they can make up their own mind about whether it is right, wrong or indifferent.
2. Always be Respectful.
Some things appear to be purely common sense. When we voice that thought, it puts us on the slippery slope to a heated argument instead of an informative debate. Belittling doesn’t convince anyone that you’re right. It only convinces them that they don’t want to listen to you. A political post should be informative, not inflammatory.
4. Link unbiased sources.
Any source has the potential of being biased, but when a source has a name or description that announces it is has a specific perspective (conservative, progressive, specified religion, etc), the chances are greater that the information is biased. If you use a source like this, make sure that the posting is accurate and complete. Anyone can post something on the World Wide Web. It doesn’t have to be accurate.
5. Post the whole truth.
Information that is taken out of context is generally biased, but sometimes the brevity required for a picture post is incomplete enough to give the wrong impression. Sometimes that is the intention of the original poster. It is then passed on by people who didn’t read the entire article or listen to the entire speech. If you are going to quote one phrase out of a speech, always link the entire source. We have all experienced someone listening to only part of what we said and jumping to their own conclusion of what they think we meant. This happens more in politics because more people are listening.
6. Be kind.
It’s your Facebook page and you should be expected to post what YOU think, right? It’s all in the delivery. The fact that someone doesn’t agree with you doesn’t make them a stupid moron. In fact, if you can’t tolerate an opposing point of view delivered in a respectful way, you may be the narrow minded person that you are accusing them of being. By the same token, some people seem to be spoiling for a fight. Use the unfollow or unfriend options or delete the post. If you delete your comment, it deletes all replies, regardless of whose post it was originally. Keep in mind that if you reply to a post, your Facebook friends will also be able to see it.
No one is right 100% of the time and most of us spout off at one point or another. Apologize when you know you have offended someone. It happens. When someone apologizes to you, forgive them. Isn’t that what friends do?
7. Make appropriate posts.
Facebook is a social network. If you wouldn’t say something at a party of friends in your home, it probably doesn’t belong on Facebook. If someone is at your party who wants to vote for A and you know Z is the best choice, you don’t go on and on about the personal faults of A, do you? Most people will ignore a few offensive comments about their party – especially if the comments are humorous – but no one wants a steady diet of complaints.
The chances are that all of us have had one foot on the slippery slope to bullying more than once in our lives. That's because we are all imperfect and the pathway is often confusing. Sometimes we have been given the wrong instructions and sometimes we misinterpret the instructions. Sometimes we rewrite the instructions.
A bully is a person who tears others down in the process of building themselves up. Think you've never done that? Think again.
Have you ever called someone stupid? You see the word on Facebook a lot these days. Calling someone stupid implies that they are not as intelligent as you are. Pointing out an opposing idea as stupid indicates that you think your idea is better. Either case could be true, but beware of the slippery slope.
Having the right information doesn't always make you right. The right information delivered with arrogance is offensive and generally inefficient. It is disrespectful. Instead of being passed on, it is more likely to be ignored. Getting the right information can be dubious. Research is easier with the internet, but anyone can post information. Even if the information is from a reliable source, it could be outdated, incomplete or misinterpreted. No one is right 100% of the time, no matter how well informed. People respond better if given the information and allowed to verify it, accept it or reject it at their own discretion.
Remember the old saying, "If you can't say anything nice, then don't say anything at all?" The reason so many people toss that rule aside is because sometimes unpleasant things need to be addressed. This is where the pathway gets foggy.
Unpleasant things can be presented in a positive or negative manner. It is our choice, but often we don't have the skills to present the idea in a positive perspective. Half the words in a negative article could be scrubbed. Sometimes we let emotion take the place of reason. That's a quick way to hit the slopes.
Learning communication skills is as important as learning to speak. Technology has evolved to the point that it allows us to hide behind a fictitious name or identity. We no longer look the other person in the eye or see them flinch when our words are harsh. We don't see the disbelief or scorn in their eyes when we use politically correct terms. We no longer see the consequences of our words until something drastic happens.
The art of communication isn't winning an argument or making yourself look good. The art of communication is the transformation of words to thoughts that convey information between two or more people. If it isn't working for at least two people, it isn't working at all. Today we can post something that reaches hundreds of people who will each have their own take on it. Inevitably, someone is going to disagree. Everyone benefits from a new perspective, whether they agree with it or not. Inevitably, right or wrong, someone is going to agree with the opposing viewpoint. That is communication. As long as the opposing point of view is presented with skill, we stay off the slippery slope.
How do you think people could improve their communication skills?
As a writer, I usually hear success measured in monetary terms. Successful writers have best sellers or become rich and famous. The general public often thinks of it this way, and even writers themselves.
But what is success? I think that in order to answer that question, we need to ask ourselves what we would consider the opposite of success. Most of us would say it was failure, but wait a minute. That would mean that poor people are failures. I don't think many would agree that being poor meant you were a failure, and yet, we instantly recognize being rich as being a success. We all know money talks. In fact, sometimes it talks so loud that we hear nothing else.
If we tossed money out of the picture, how would we define success? Would it be popularity? Would it be leaving a legacy? How would you define it?
I think of success as achieving a goal. It doesn't have to be a monumental goal. After all, if we go on a diet and lose weight, wouldn't we consider that success?
My goal as a writer is to write books that people enjoy reading. I have many emails from fans who tell me how much they enjoy my books. I consider that success. I want to reach as many people as possible. Many of my books have been free reads online for years. I have hundreds of thousands of hits on them from all over the world. I consider that success. I have reached my goals. The truth is, it has never been my goal to become a rich and famous writer. I probably never will be - not because I lack the skill, but because it isn't important enough to me to justify the effort. You see, when a writer becomes rich and famous, it isn't necessarily that they are the best writer. Writing a book is hard, but it is the easy part compared to all the marketing involved in publishing. Marketing is a lot of work. The old adage that it takes money to make money is correct, but it also takes a mountain of effort. When I see a best selling writer, I think of all the time, discipline and effort they put into getting there. That was their goal and they have been successful.
So, in answer to my question, "what is success," I would answer, "achieving your goal." Don't wait for success to be defined by someone else. Set a goal and achieve it. Everyone can be successful.
When my father came to live with us in 2011, he brought with him the toaster that he claimed to have received as a wedding gift. Since they were married in 1946, I assumed that he was mistaken. I looked it up and discovered to my amazement that he was not mistaken. He was still using a 1946 Toastmaster toaster! Dad died in June of 2012 and we are still using that toaster daily.
At some point, Dad replaced the cord on the toaster, but otherwise, it has lasted all these years. Toasters haven't changed much in the last 68 years, aside from the addition of two or more ports for toast and a wider slot for bagels. On the other hand, I have a Hamilton Beach Model 702 Food Processor that my mother gave me over twenty years ago. It still works great. I even have the original manual (though it is food-stained). But food processors have changed a lot in twenty years. Now they are smaller and more powerful.
I got a small hand mixer as a wedding gift that lasted about 20 years through heavy use. Finally the motor burned up, so I bought another, and then another a year later when that one burned up. Mixers haven't changed much in technology over the years either, but apparently the quality has.
Why can't we make a mixer that lasts longer? We recycle plastic, cardboard and glass to keep it out of the dump, but we toss our mixers every year? We upgrade cars and computers. Why can't we make a mixer that can be repaired or upgraded? Why can we no longer make an economical toaster that lasts 60 years?
Economical is probably the key word here. When I got my first mixer, the cost was around $10 to $15. I was making less than $2 an hour, so that would have been about a day's pay. Today that mixer would still cost about the same, but minimum wage is over $7 an hour, so it would only be a few hours work. Proportionately, the cost of that item has gone down. Mass production is the biggest reason. As quantity increased, has quality declined?
Of course, we can't lay all the blame at the feet of manufacturing companies. As price goes down, we find tossing the item and buying another makes more sense. Certainly it makes no sense to pay someone $7 to $15 an hour to fix a $10 item. As technology grows, fewer of us are able to fix our own electronics.
Technology and style are other reasons to toss perfectly good equipment. We want to upgrade to something that does more and looks better. Do manufacturing companies build the market or do consumers set it? If consumers and investors demand that products last longer, they will. If we demand items to be repairable, they will be. We have the capability. Do we lack the willpower?
Ultimately each of us has to make our own decision. Upgrade, repair, recycle or toss it in the dump. We have to decide which is more important to us in each case and realize the answer isn't always going to be the same. Sometimes we have to toss things, but often we have a choice.