Maybe it is generational. I'm not a big Facebook user. If I want to express my opinion, I blog or write a letter to the editor. Most of my friends and acquaintances use Facebook to post pictures and updates about grandkids and vacations.
As to all the other opinions, statements, etc., I simply ignore them and move on.
I suspect it is generational. But I also REALLY dislike the underlying tone of avoiding criticism.
If a person posts a meme supporting the "issue du jour" and I speak against it, then I am close minded, unreasonable, combative, argumentative, etc.
If I post a written observation (I don't really 'do' memes) that runs counter to the popular trends, OH MY, I am challenged to defend/explain/argue, etc. And I welcome the opportunity! It sharpens my thinking skills.
Additionally, I will concede valid points that weaken or nullify my position. That, too, seems to be a lost skill. I have gone at least a year without hearing, "Good point. I did not consider that" from someone outside my immediate family. I know I am not perfect, but it is statistically improbably for me to be that wrong that often.
It saddens me to think that todays generation (apparently) lacks the ability or drive (or both) to take a well thought position and defend it to the point of "let's agree to disagree." Instead it ends with, "You're impossible! I'm done here!" It seems as if they are afraid/incapable of being mistaken. What a petulant, self-indulgent attitude.
And don't even get me started on trying to suggest that someone's position is based on a flawed understanding of historical fact. I would rather dig sand spurs out of tender skin than talk to someone who believes the US instigated the attack on Pearl Harbor or that the Holocaust really wasn't as terrible as people believe.
Charlie, interesting timing for this topic. Just this morning, a friend of a friend posted on Facebook his fervent belief in every crazy thing ever written about Obama (Muslim, hates America, not born in America, hates Israel, wants to ban your guns, is a socialist communist fascist, etc.). It was a LONG post, as there are quite a number of these 'stories,' and he listed every one, and he made it clear that there was no point in discussing it because there was nothing anyone could possibly say to change his mind. I had the same kind of reaction that you did; why bother? I'm not sure it's a generational thing, as he's almost certainly a retiree; maybe it's one of those traits that "skips a generation!"
I'm with Bryant on this; Facebook is best for posting pictures and family updates; all the political ranting just gets in the way, and those memes are becoming as annoying as the "Fred just bought a cow in Farmville" posts of a couple years ago.
I cannot believe that I am about to type the following words...
I agree with you.
What are you thoughts on my idea that this 'intellectual isolationism' weakens people and their mental ability?
There's a first time for everything, I guess!
I'm not sure which is generally cause and which is effect. That is, does staking a position and refusing to defend it lead to weakened mental ability, or is it the natural response of people who, um, weren't that sharp to begin with? Probably it's a vicious cycle.
Intellectual laziness, a sense of entitlement, and a perception that less than perfect is failure, in my opinion.
We give our children everything. We praise them every time they do anything, not just when they do something extraordinary. Society as whole has become completely intolerant of any mistake - actual or perceived.
Hence the idea that they are never wrong and they can never afford to be wrong.
In my opinion.
I have friends on both sides of the Presidential debate and I mostly ignore them cause everyone is entitled to his or her opinion and I don't want to lose a friend over mine.
Charlie, I have to take issue with the generational issue as far as closemindedness. People of my generation - born in the 50's - can be just as closeminded as any regular Facebook user touting the cause du jour.
Unfortunately, in these days of internet and Facebook and anonymity, the most outrageous crap gets propagated with no attribution of authorship. And then further promulgated by those who do not want to know the truth or who cannot stand any criticism or comments which calls their stances into question.
I can acknowledge certain actions by the US government may have convinced the Japanese military to attack Pearl Harbor. But, instigate? No way. It was Japan's militarianism and desire for territorial expansion (without interference) that led to the attack.
And the Holocaust - I'm with you. That is a topic which is not debatable as to whether or not it occurred nor to how horrific it was. But if you run across someone who thinks the Holocaust wasn't that bad, run away very quickly. Because it would be like debating the Armenian genocide with a Turk. Or trying to teach a pig to sing. Waste of your time and aggravating to the pig.
I would welcome a time when there was no anonymous/screen name protection on the internet. I believe the human internal filter would be re-energized.
I mentioned to one of my children last night that there used to be an old adage, "Think twice before speaking once".
Nowadays, it's just type whatever inane thought occurs to you.
Just my two cents:
I fall somewhere between Bryant (who is, full disclosure, my father) and the raised-on-social-media 16-year old. I was part of the first generation to have a home computer. I was an early adopter of BBS technology, a precursor to the broader Internet and, in many ways, to Facebook itself.
But I also worked in newspapers. Here at the Herald, mostly. I learned to measure my words and when I was putting my opinion out there, to have thick skin about the possible blowback. I wrote some great stuff and some really dumb stuff. It happens.
For people like me, Facebook is a tool to connect to people. In fact, it's the same for everyone who uses it. But Facebook is a tool requiring some effort on the part of the user. Privacy sttings have to be monitored. "Friends" and connections (and likes and shares, too) need to be actively managed by the user. I, for one, started "unsubscribing" from the feeds of my more politically volatile "friends" on both sides of the debate. I did not unfriend them (a stupid term, methinks) but I chose to hit the "mute" button. I have dropped Facebook connections, un-liked pages and groups and modified my privacy settings.
I have also measured my own words on Facebook, for the most part. I swear in statuses, but people who know me know that I swear. I link my blogs, in which I often express strong opinions, but most of my friends know my opinions or are, at the very least, unsurprised by them.
Many folks like to create an image of themselves with Facebook. Often, that image does not stand up to scrutiny by people with real-life experience dealing with people behind the profile pictures. I've been online and in the public eye for most of my adult life. Facebook is just one picture of who I am at any given point in time. Lately, that picture has been of a proud dad, since my little boy dominates my feed.
I hope that answers the question a bit, Charlie. For some of us, Facebook is what it should be: just another facet of life in a technological age, not its defining characteristic.