The Futility of Facebook Disputesby Linda L. Rigsbee on 03/05/21
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.