Takes a monumental act for me to unfriend someone I actually know on Facebook (as opposed to a celeb I don’t personally know), but yesterday I invoked that all-powerful BUH-BYE button. I felt like Jaye P. Morgan on the Gong Show, albeit I registered my dissatisfaction much more quietly. So quietly, in fact, that I’m sure my unfriend doesn’t even know.
Although we’ve never been close personals, this person has been a fringe acquaintance for more than 15 years. Her professional career requires extensive education and training, and because of this, as well as some glimpses into her family life, I had always assumed she was an extremely bright and compassionate human being.
Okay, I get that Facebookers are entitled to their own opinions and can use their status updates however they like. But here’s the thing: multiple times a day for a few days in a row, this person posted viciously derisive statuses ripping into a news organization she finds abhorrent, and attacking the intelligence of people who don’t share her opinion.
At first I thought her Facebook had been hacked. The frequency and ferociousness of these posts had the intrusiveness of spam, and I assumed this person had a life too busy to be posting so often. But as she got comments and personally replied, it became clear that indeed she was spewing this hostility. Do I agree with everything all my Facebook friends post? Uh, no. But there’s one explosive topic I’ve learned not to bother arguing about on Facebook: politics. It’s not worth it. There’s no good end to a political flame war carried out in a newsfeed. There’s zero chance a public written exchange between political foes can be carried out in a civil, intellectual way. (And only marginally more of a chance it can be carried out that way in person.)
Yeah, you’ve read a friend’s status update and it’s irked the living crap out of you. What do you do? If you’re like me, you shake your head, roll your eyes and keep scrolling down the newsfeed, knowing the same friend will make you smile tomorrow or the next day when she posts about the Botoxed bitch in front of her in the Starbucks line or shares a YouTube about a flash mob of giggling babies in the food court at the Galleria. Seems to be accepted protocol, at least among most of my Facebook friends. Zip your trap and let it blow over. But when someone uses their Facebook as a political slam-fest, it’s time to unceremoniously pull the plug.
What’s ironic is that I had assumed my acquaintance was intelligent and sensitive based on certain characteristics. Her bitter assumption that I am an “unintelligent drone” because of my beliefs makes it likely that she is, apparently, neither.