Work at laptop

The Internet can make jerks of us all at times, but there is perhaps no place where that’s more true than on Facebook, where our postings, (especially our political ones) are filled with unthinking vitriol that we would never share with others in person. More than that, the way we do politics on facebook is often spiritually poisonous, making us worse people in the process.  Here are a few ways to make sure that you’re doing politics and Facebook in a way that’s good for you and for the people around you.

1. Read smart people who you are likely to disagree with.

The epistemic bubble is real[1]. You do neither your spirit nor your intellect any favors if you only read people you that you agree with. This is especially true if you’re highly engaged and passionate about the issues of the day. The more engaged you are, the more you need to read people who you are likely to disagree with.[2]

2. Never post anything to Facebook that you wouldn’t say to someone in person.

If you post something from a website entitled, “Conservatives Are Ruining Our Country”, consider this: Would you say, “Conservatives our ruining our ruining our country” to your Republican friend around the dinner table? If you post an article that states that all people on Obamacare are lazy takers, would you call your friends who are on Obamacare lazy takers if you took them out to coffee?

If you would, I both admire your guts and think that you need therapy. But, if like me, you know you wouldn’t, then don’t use the internet as an excuse to let your inner troll out. People get hurt that way.

3)  If it doesn’t make you a more loving person, then it actively harms you.

 If reading your favorite partisan pundit makes you fear or hate other people more than you would otherwise (conservatives, liberals, southerners, gays, immigrants, people on welfare, etc.) then don’t read them and don’t share their posts, even if you agree with them.  Love is the ultimate Truth. Anything that leads you away from that is a lie, even if it seems factually accurate.

 4) The fact you’re right doesn’t mean that you can be a jerk to those who are wrong.

 Just because you know you’re right doesn’t give you a right to be a jerk to everyone else. Treat people with the same respect that you would want to be treated with if you were (and I’m sure you’re not, but just pretend with for a moment) incredibly wrong something as well.

Pretty simple right? Listen to people you disagree with. Treat others like you want to be treated. Run from hateful people like the plague. And for heaven’s sake, don’t be a jerk.

 Thoughts? Questions? Pushback?





[1] Epistemic Bubble: Reading only people and information sources you agree with, the end result being that new information and differing opinions become more and more difficult to be integrated into your worldview.

[2] There is an important corollary to this as well. Before you post or comment on an article, read it first.

1 Comment

  1. Number 1 is sooooooo important. It helps keep you fresh on topics, and know how really intricate and complicated getting comprehensive (I refrain from saying “right”) policy in place can be. We can’t “reach across the aisle” unless we know who is across the aisle and why they’re so rooted to their own position.

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