Over the past two years or so, the terms “fake news” and “enemy of the people” have become prominent in even casual conversations. There are many people who believe that the news and the journalists that bring us the stories, are biased and one-sided. In some instances, that might be true. However, it’s not true as a general principle. They chose their careers because they were interested in learning and relaying the truth to the general population. And let’s admit it, without them, how would we know what’s going on in the world around us?
If we want to be honest with ourselves, news outlets such as papers, television stations and talk shows are NOT the real enemy of the people – SOCIAL media is! You know, those places in cyber-world where faceless, sometimes cowardly entities sit at their computers pounding on their keyboards, posting and sharing memes that aren’t real, pictures that have been photoshopped, and dishing out their judgment upon others that they don’t even know, all in the name of personal, political and religious beliefs? Something my daughter, Courtney, likes to refer to as “keyboard warriors.”
It will never cease to amaze me at how quickly some are to share items without fact-checking first, all because whatever they’re posting aligns with their own tenets. Wouldn’t it be much easier to use one of the vast amount of fact-checking sites to verify before sharing? In my opinion, this is how hatred continues to grow and spread, because while it may please some, it angers others and results in hateful exchanges of words between them. From personal experience, I have learned (and not so kindly) that some are so preoccupied with shoving their own system of opinions and beliefs down one’s throat that they fail to consider that the other person also has an opinion and their own set of beliefs, they’re simply not interested in hearing it. Not once has anyone ever asked me why I feel the way I do about certain things or why my opinion differs from theirs, and when I have on rare occasions offered my opinion, the attacks were akin to that of hungry piranhas engaged in a feeding frenzy. I have made the mistake of commenting on posts because I honestly thought that’s what the poster wanted me to do, only to immediately regret my decision. While I love, and will engage in, a healthy debate any time, any place, what I will not participate in is name-calling, belittling, debasing, bashing, or anything else that would make another human being feel anything less than human. When that begins, I take the advice of Snagglepuss, and take an “exit, stage left even!”
Let me give you a couple of examples that I’ve seen as recently as this week. I may not get all of the words ver batim, but you’ll get the general idea. One went something like this, “I voted for Donald Trump in 2016 and will vote for him again. Will you?” Another one I saw was, “Charles Schumer and Nancy Pelosi both need to be impeached. Do you agree? Share if you do?” My conclusion to something of this nature is that they’re hypothetical questions and don’t really want you to answer. Unless, of course, you share their opinion. Take my advice….DON’T answer!!!
Social Media can be, and usually is, a wonderful tool. It allows us to stay connected with family and friends, view photos of loved ones who live states away from us, use funny face filters to change how we look, resulting in laughter, even at ourselves. But it can also be, and has been, a weapon, and a lethal one when used in the wrong hands of someone with malfeasant intentions. School-aged children have been bullied into suicide after mass sharing of hateful vitriol against them on social media platforms, falsehoods and not-so-true stories have also been spread, as well as photoshopped photographs depicting someone in compromising positions, nude when they’re not, or changing the lettering on a T-shirt to make it have a negative impact on the viewer, inciting even more hatred and venomous words and behavior. This is behavior that, no matter how hard I try, I will never understand.
Facebook is the only social media platform that I use and I do that mainly to play my farming games; however, if it wasn’t for that purpose, I’d most likely give it up altogether. Not a day goes by that when I log onto Facebook, the thread is filled with posts pertaining to political opinions, hypotheticals like what I mentioned above, disrespectful comments due to differences of opinion. Once a great place to connect and interact with family and friends, it has become nothing more than a political forum for users to post their own opinions and dare others to comment on them. I no longer comment on anyone’s posts when it’s about politics or religion, and I scroll past anything that I’m not interested in seeing or reading. In some cases, I have resorted to unfriending/blocking because I got sick and tired of constantly seeing the hateful things certain people posted. While I will admit that there are some who don’t mind engaging in a debate, and do it diplomatically, there are twice as many who do not and will not see beyond the tips of their own noses. That’s when I know it’s wise to keep a safe distance, monitor what they’re saying and posting, then decide whether to rid myself of them. Honestly, I don’t even want to be associated with anyone who spreads nothing but fear, hatred and bigotry. I wouldn’t allow anyone like that into my personal life, and as far as I’m concerned, it’s no different by eliminating them from my Facebook friends list.
Unfortunately, until posters learn how to fact-check before sharing certain articles, photographs and memes, the spread of hatefulness isn’t apt to cease any time soon. In fact, I only see it getting worse as more and more people join these platforms on a daily basis and participate in this type of activity. And as long as there are social media platforms to use to assist in their mission, those seeking to cause dissension, spread hate, engage in cyber bullying and cyber arguments, the tools are readily available with a click of the mouse and the strokes of a keyboard.
I choose peace and harmony, and posting pictures and videos of precious animals, cute kittens and puppies, and occasionally, a news article that I think others might find interesting. I refuse to be a part of any type of group or activity that does nothing but tear others down. We all have opinions about many different types of things, but sometimes, it’s best for everyone involved to keep those opinions to ourselves.
Until next time…
Take care and God Bless!