When I joined the Facebook community with a personal profile, my intent was to enjoy it as a place to share in the sweet things of life with my family and friends — events, travels, fun conversations, memories, weekend activities, photos, and the like. If I thought one of my blog posts was something my friends might enjoy reading, I planned to share it, too.
That is how I use Facebook, as do millions of other people.
My news feed is also full of articles and images about politics, religion, entertainers, news headlines, and opinion. People like to share their interests on Facebook, and most of it I welcome.
But then there’s that unfriendly type of sharing that flows through my feed.
People have arguments on Facebook via the comments section, which is fine when the argument is healthy. Some of the arguments get ugly, though, like the one I read through recently and which sparked the writing of this blog post. I cringed as I read the exchange. I knew one of the persons involved, and I wanted to comment, “Pick up the phone or meet up somewhere, and have your argument there!”
Instead, I clicked on “Hide post.”
Most often, the arguments start with shared articles or opinions that have tones like these:
- Read this article — You won’t believe what these idiots think!
- Share this story — Let’s help expose her for what she truly is!
- Look at this photo — Hope it shocks you into action!
- Watch this video — Why does anyone support him?
- Sign this petition — We have to get rid of this (thing, person, law, idea, etc.)!
- If you like this (thing, person, law, idea, etc.), then you need to delete me as a friend!
The unfriendly sharing leads to layers and layers of unfriendly comments as a post spreads throughout the Facebook universe. Name calling. Obscenities. Insults. Belittling. Back and forth let’s-see-who-wins zingers.
Election years and politics are the worst. “Unfriendliness” is too tame a word to describe some of the stuff that continues to pass through my news feed.
It’s sad to see people turn so easily from pleasant to vicious on a social site that promotes friendship.
I stay away from “liking,” sharing, and commenting on Facebook posts with divisive subjects. If I have a passion to share, I do it here on my blog. That way a reader won’t have a feed of fast-moving news to scroll through and will, instead, take the time to read my thoughts. That is my hope. The bonus would be a reader’s unhurried comment that would add to the conversation in a positive way.
Believe me, I have times when I would love to shoot back words or an image to a person who has shared something ugly about my faith, a public figure I admire, or the side of an issue I hold dear. That is an ongoing temptation.
But I hold back because that is not what Facebook is about for me. If I want to get people worked up, I’d rather it spring from well thought-out words that come from my heart — not my wounded pride.
So, if you become my friend on Facebook, expect to have a friendly time as my posts flow through your news feed. Family doings, Santa Barbara love, Pinterest pins, Dodgers game updates, book reviews, brother teasing, share-worthy photos, job love, restaurant recommendations, links to things of beauty, and links to my stories about family, friends, goodness, and God. That’s pretty much it. And I’m happy to join the conversation of posts that are fun, uplifting, and free of hostility.
What do you think? If you are a member of the Facebook community, how do you (or how will you) keep from adding to the unfriendliness?