Let’s Build a (Facebook) Wall

I tried to be clever with the title of this post, channeling some classic Donald Trump philosophies, but I feel like it’s still obscure, so let me digress a little bit. Right after I try eating an apple without the juice spilling all over my pants.

The world is a pretty dramatic place to begin with, but lately America has seen its fair share of controversy. I don’t think I have to give specifics for you to know what events I’m talking about. (Dallas and protests across the country)

While these events and tragedies deserve recognition and awareness, the direction people can take in talking about them is seemingly counterproductive. I see it all over my Facebook homepage. Statuses and shared messages and photos about “-insert here- Lives Matter” and gun control, which usually ends up as a battleground in the comment sections fighting for different views and opinions.

Healthy debate is normal, and discussion is necessary in order to enact true change, but the kind of comments I see are really irritating to not only me but so many others. It blows my mind sometimes how much effort some people put toward arguing on a Facebook post. If that gets them to do some research on the topic on hand, great, but there’s a reason people say to avoid bringing up the topics of religion and politics at the dinner table, and Facebook is a similar form of social interaction that unless you’re looking for a fight, keep the passionate religious and political posts to a minimum.

Because Facebook allows such a variety of posting options, I find it much easier for debate to occur versus a more prompt posting option like Twitter or simple comments on a YouTube video or Instagram picture. Facebook also tends to encourage broadening your “friend” group, which could meaning adding more general acquaintances since most of the time, unless they post on a regular basis, you don’t necessarily see their content constantly.

No matter what platform of social media, people get very defensive. Many are like me, who just scroll past anything I don’t agree with and don’t spend the time to try pushing my beliefs on others who won’t change their own views off of one online comment, but I notice that the same select people are the ones always ready to rant.

Why don’t these drawn out arguments happen as much talking in person? Well, you don’t have a screen to protect you from backlash. You can’t fact check things on the spot, and you don’t have that waiting time to word things exactly how you’d like. In the public realm, people fight their beliefs with actions rather than words. I’m a writer myself who hates any confrontation, but I truly believe that actions speak so much louder. I don’t see much of a point in putting in all of that effort in debating back and forth on these huge topics when we could try actually making changes instead. You can tweet a hashtag as many times as you like, but obviously it really isn’t helping anything when the same types of events keeping plaguing our country. When we start to become so impassioned over our opinions, it can be hard to think rationally toward a lasting solution.

What can we do instead of just angrily posting online? Let’s put those words talking to the right people, especially those involved in local and national government. Let’s write up petitions and form peaceful movements and events toward the greater good. Let’s create pieces of writing for the public, whether in the traditional sense or in social media, that are smart and concise.

Pick your battles wisely and be smart about what you write if you do choose to partake in some discussion. I’m all for addressing those big topics affecting society, but please don’t post anything if you do not have a solid knowledge or research to back yourself up. Shoving your opinions down others’ throats does nobody any good. And if you post something and receive a response that is less than satisfactory, be the wiser person and either respond peacefully or don’t say anything at all.

If we want to make change, social media can be a good place to form a movement and gain momentum, but we need to take it much further than that. We’re stuck in a vicious cycle of seeing constant violence in our world and addressing that, but we need to go about it in a way that can spark those in power and everyday citizens to evaluate the situation and finally do something.

Did I just rant about ranting? I feel like I did. I’ll go back to stalking others on Facebook and sharing funny pictures and call it a day.

Take care, and keep the faith. -Allie


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