Because of what I like to call my wayward youth that I wrote about yesterday, my Facebook page had gotten particularly nasty.  When I say that I’m talking about people who felt safe to post memes actively encouraging violence to Black Lives Matter members and Native American protestors at Standing Rock along with the common memes of the “Don’t like it here, go live in (insert country here).”

Twitter was my safe place which always makes me giggle since the typical conversation about Twitter make it seem like everyone on there is getting constant abuse.

I had been avoiding Facebook for weeks.  I don’t feel like I was free to be myself on there.  So many people knew a person that I used to be.  I didn’t want to get into the conversations that would ensue if I let that world know the real me.  Part of it comes from being a very private person.  I don’t like to let people I know in my brain to know what I am actually thinking or feeling.  It is much easier to talk to strangers about it.  Part of it is being very non-confrontational.

But, I’m also the first to criticize people for setting themselves up in an echo chamber where they only hear their own thoughts reflected back to them.

I’m not sure how to find a balance.

Yesterday I realized that I wasn’t going to go on Facebook anymore the way it was.  I do get a lot of news from several sources through my timeline there and I wasn’t getting it.  I wasn’t getting updates from groups I participate in.  I either needed to walk away entirely or fix it.

I ended up cutting out half of my friends.  It was a sad and strange process reading down my friend list and thinking, “Are you a racist?”  I consider the people I have left to be on a probationary period.  Two have already been kicked out.  In case you feel I am being too harsh here’s what they posted last night that made that decision for me.

One posted a picture of a man snuggling multiple assault rifles and was captioned, “It’s alright.  You’re safe now.” I spent yesterday watching friends on Twitter expressing real fears for their safety and their family’s safety.  That picture was callous at best.

The other posted a cartoon of multiple women crying.  This included some caricatures meant to demean people.  It was labeled SJW (Social Justice Warrior) Tears.  Again, the pain right now is real and people who don’t get it are reveling in it.  (As an aside, why do people think SJW is an insult?  That’s an awesome title to have!)

How are other people handling this?  Is this just a retreat?  I feel like it is but I also know the reality is that if you call people out you just end up reinforcing their rightness in their minds. And that will be tomorrow’s rant…


7 Replies to “Echo Chamber vs Safe Space”

  1. I don’t think that many of us feel safe to be ourselves on social media right now, especially us private sorts. There is such a disgusting intolerance for one another from every direction. I only wish that people would decide to express themselves without feeling the need to do it by criticizing someone else’s beliefs, which ends up being a reflection on their political group, even though it shouldn’t be. It’s all a horrible shame.

  2. I haven’t unfriended anyone due to their vote yet, only if they post offensive stuff. But those kind of supporters — ones who are open about it at least — are pretty rare in my feed. I don’t feel free to be myself on FB either because of family. They’re not obvious in their racism, but I’ve been reluctant to start potential arguments. I’ve decided that I need to stop censoring myself though. Maybe sometime they’ll see something I share and learn a bit.

    1. I’ve started with sharing articles I see. They can ignore if they wish but at least my views are getting known without directly picking a fight.

  3. I know people have a lot of very strong opinions about unfriending people based on their vote. At one point I might have, too. I come from a small, rural town in Pennsylvania. A lot of people I went to high school with have never left. They are narrow-minded. I’m friends with a large number of them on Facebook. I started off this election hiding people. The closer Nov. 8 got and the more ignorant posts I saw — not to mention the people who directly attacked my posts — I started hitting the unfriend button. To me, the choice to vote for Trump goes so much deeper than just a Republican vs. Democrat thing. Even if your decision to vote for Trump had nothing to do (allegedly) with his racist, misogynistic, hateful words, voting for him speaks volumes to me. Even if you’re not a racist, misogynist, etc., you’re showing me that you don’t care about POC, LGBT+ or women by enabling this man to become one of the most powerful men in the world.

    At the end of the day, I want my Facebook to be a safe space for me and my friends. If that means I’m a jerk for unfriending a classmate I haven’t seen in 10+ years or someone who lived on my floor freshman year of college? Oh well. I can live with that.

    1. I think a lot of us have that rural, no one ever leaves background. For those of us who do end up with a different mindset it is hard to explain. We have to get used to being seen as the ones that are overreacting, rude, and shall we say – nasty.

  4. Oh, Heather, I am so with you about Twitter. How crazy is it that it’s the place right now where I feel like the most sanity reigns? My son is in a Christian co-op government class and most of the people in the class, while not actively, outwardly racist, have supported Trump. I feel the need to inundate him when he gets home with all of the reasons why it’s not enough to say “I don’t agree with Trump” and then vote for him anyway. It’s almost harder to fight because I can easily show him how racism and hate are evil, but to make him understand that you don’t have to be evil yourself to be part of the problem … that’s much more difficult. I’ve been so sad since Tuesday and I can’t shake the feeling. And I honestly don’t think I want to. At least not completely. I need to hang onto it so that I don’t forget. So I don’t fall back into complacency. It would be so easy to do.

    1. People just don’t understand why we are sad. It isn’t the way the losing side is always sad after elections. I sat my husband down with Shaun King’s twitter feed this evening. He was collecting incidents of racial harassment that happened just today. It is chilling reading. I think it was starting to get through to the husband. He’s been a bit spooked because I’ve been so upset. I’m normally the ice queen and he’s the emotional one. He gets unnerved when our roles are reversed.

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