I guess I am going to rant today. I typically don’t rant on here; it has never felt like the place. I usually save this space for writing that strives for eloquence and creative worth. Today it’s just ranting. Pure frustrated ranting.
Like most Americans, I spend my hours on social media. Each social media has its cesspool, but Facebook tends to be the worst. I have a few theories as to why this is:
- It attracts an older crowd. I am currently 24, and I will probably be the youngest member on this cite until it drifts into the void like myspace. You have an older crowd, who is determined to stick to their views which happen to be dated.
- Facebook has an internet-arguing friendly interface. It’s easy to argue. Whether you are posting the comment or liking it, its easy to take and show your stance.
- You are arguing with people you actually know. Facebook is typically reserved for people connecting with people they have actually met before. It’s disheartening to actually argue with people that you care about. I chose the word argue because civility is hard to find on Facebook. It goes zero-10 straight ad hominem.
The popular thing right now is to hate cops. I personally can’t relate. I just can’t. But that’s ok. That’s not what bothers me. It’s the inability to acknowledge the roll we as Americans let the media effect our perspective.
IF you want to feel a certain way about anything based on a personal experience, I’m not going to say you are wrong. There are a lot of people who read a single buzzfeed article and draw full blown legal conclusions. I think that’s dangerous. For obvious reasons. Another popular string of assumptions is those based on the “lack thereof”.
I recently read an acquaintance’s post about how there are no “good cops” speaking out against the actions of “bad cops”. There are numerous fallacies in this statement. But my main problem, the one I can’t get passed, is the fact that “speaking out”, in an influential way is determined by the media.
The media likes carnage. It gets our attention, it gets our eyes. We need it for a basic level of excitement. Animosity between individuals= News. It’s that simple. That’s my main problem. Right there, thats why I wrote this. If you use the media for your primary perceptive of the world, you are wrong. No why you believe what you believe. If you want people to take you seriously, and have a meaningful conversation have why you believe something be more credible than a lack of evidence in the media.
Facebook is a horrible place to have these kind of discussions. Even though Facebook arguing is a past time, you are also surrounded by friends. Not random people but friends. Friends you met in your most immediate walk of life. A professor of mine once said, “Facebook makes you dumber because you are surrounded by people who think just like you.” My gut reaction was to be offended, but the more I think about it the more I realize how right she was. Facebook is a giant circle jerk. We wait for people to like our posts and agree with us. We don’t post, so people will call us out, we post for praise like a dog who sees food in your hand and prematurely sits. Facebook lets us be our dumbest selves, and make friends for it.
This Facebook friend syndrome would address the lack there of theory. IF you are friends with people who think like you, people who believe the same thing as you, you are not going to see what the “cops” are posting or doing. You aren’t up to date with what those on the other side of the fence are doing. You have no idea what your adversary does or believe, because you have cornered yourself into an opinion.
Which leads me to my next point. The internet is a sort of paradoxical thing. Because research is so easy to do, we don’t do very much it. We make the assumption, that when we scroll through social media we will see what we need to see. If its not there then it doesn’t exist. This is dumb. Really dumb. It makes me mad. I realize I could rant myself into oblivion. I guess I’ll end it with this.
If you want to be an advocate you have to do the following:
- Know the issue. Best phrased, identified the issue is identifying where there is a divide in opinion. Why do people disagree. What is the foundation of this issue.
- Know the history. Know how this issue came to be. Has it surfaced before, Who What When Where Why.
- Know both sides. Know the fundamentals and history of both(or multiple) schools of thought.
- Know that not everything is binary. Each issue is a separate issue.
- Never take anyone’s word without backing it up with your own research.
If you are an advocate be ready. Be ready for that random bias news person who is going to do their best to make you look like a genius or a complete idiot.