“Unfriend”, an odd word for eliminating one who may not even have achieved acquaintance status. In my world, a difference of opinion does not warrant the guillotine. Yes, there are those whose words are so repugnant I choose not to be subjected to their nonsense. That is rare.
IF MY NEWSFEED WAS A PATIENT, the diagnosis would be … mmm, I’ll get to that in a moment.
There is a critical need for diversity of opinion in my newsfeed. Here’s why.
Our personal Facebook feeds reflect our unique leanings, passions, activities, interests and associates. As such, they mirror life, not so much as it truly is, but rather a version of life we have designed, perhaps, loosely akin to genetically engineered babies. Our feeds then reflect that version of life back to us, reinterpreted in a thousand ways by like-minded “friends,” relentlessly, day after day, twenty-four seven. It never sleeps.
Visualize the contrast between the feed of an avid fly fisherman, father of five who belongs to the Elks and supports the NRA with that of a young, single, vegan professor, into martial arts, Planned Parenthood and She Should Run. Now consider that each has unfriend-ed ALL fringe elements for crimes such as considering gun legislation or dining at Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse. Voila! A personalized news-topia!
Crafting designer media worlds seems organic, responsible and comfortable – like moving to and remaining in a little neighborhood where everyone looks just like me. But at some level, is the result stagnation, feeding into the bipartisan chasm that has our nation evolving in two very divergent directions? At what point does eliminating all opposing opinion skew our own reality and dampen our ability to empathize, compromise and evolve? Of course we each must find our own comfort level, but how much exclusivity is too much?
SO, IF MY NEWSFEED WAS A PATIENT the diagnosis might go something like this: A colorful, relatively open extrovert with mood swings ranging from happy fitness enthusiast to outraged distraught citizen to passionate social activist, with occasional tendencies toward narcissism and antisocial behavior, and periods of acute frustration often leading to collective hopefulness.
Thanks for reading, “friend.” 🌿