November 19, 2015
First, let me start by saying "thank you" for giving Facebook to the world. (Boy, if you had asked me if I thought the shade of blue you chose would work, I would have said keep lookin.' But I guess that's why you have "Created Facebook" on your college resume, and I have "waited tables at Ryan's Family Steakhouse." LOL!)
Seriously, at this point I can't even imagine life without Facebook. It's just so damn fun!. But I'm gonna be honest with you, Mark: sometimes it can be a little awful. And in the last few weeks, it's been a whole lot of awful.
But I have an idea about how to fix it.
What if there was a second Facebook JUST for political discussions?
We You could call it SHUT YOUR FACE-BOOK. (I'm not married to that title.) Hear me out.
On SHUT-YOUR-FACE-BOOK, everyone would be anonymous. It would be like a 24/7 global on-line AA meeting of avatars, only everyone would talk about politics instead of booze. This would free up regular Facebook to carry on its grand tradition of humble brags and cat videos (I mean who knew cats were afraid of cucumbers? Ammaright, Mark?)
Why anonymity? I'll stick with the AA analogy I started above the cat video.
Alcoholics Anonymous has these general rules they use to loosely govern their sober club, and one of them is "Anonymity is the spiritual foundation of all our traditions, ever reminding us to place principles before personalities"
Apparently, when principles come before personalities, all of the hot-heads, control freaks, koo-koo birds, and drama queens/kings lose their ability to put personal agendas ahead of the needs of the group. "Principles before personalities" is like caution tape at a crime scene: stay behind this line.
(And get this: AA also decided they wouldn't subscribe to any political organization or religion. (!!!) As counter-intuitive as it sounds, by removing religion and politics from the organization, they have managed to unite a wildly diverse membership for decades. So cray..)
we you could make SHUT YOUR FACE-BOOK completely anonymous, and then remove the politics from the Facebook "mainland" so to speak. I'm not proposing secession from the "Facebook Nation." I'm saying let's move the political discussion to "Facebook Alaska." I'm saying make an alternate blue page of thumbnail-v-thumbnail discussions that, while still frustrating as hell, would eliminate the heartbreak of hearing politically disturbing messages coming from the mouths of loved ones.
Now I know full well that trolls would still troll, the morally pathetic would still whittle anonymity into flimsy tin badges of false courage, and thousands of people would still be called a"f*cking idiot," every day. Those things wouldn't change. But SYF-B would work just like its older cousin - you could still "hide" the lost causes.
Mark, I'm not proposing this to satisfy some deep seeded pipe dream I have about creating a more civil discourse on divisive issues in this country. No, my motivation is much more personal and selfish - I'm trying not to lose any (more?) friends in this current political climate.
I've seen too much - the memes! the links! The infographs! I know only too well who stands diametrically opposed to everything I stand for. I can't unsee the political leanings of people who, up until the last couple of weeks, I thought I knew fairly well.
Look, even Billy Joel would agree that Facebook didn't start the fire (though it may have been responsible for igniting a couple of low hanging branches). One only need look back as far as the Civil War to see just how polarized the Creator made his American minions. I guess for that fire to exist there must be friction. Check.
But it's too hot right now. It was the 80's supergroup Expose who so wisely said: "What you don't know might hurt you." And now, because of Facebook, I now know what I didn't know, and it is hurting me.
Thanks for your time and consideration,
(Oh, hey, and if you like this idea, would you mind "sharing" this post with your friends? For some reason, when I share my writings on my OSM Facebook page, only like 5% of my "likes" end up seeing it.)
If you enjoyed our time together, and would like to receive future posts, please enter your email address in the box and click the "create subscription" button. My list is completely spam free, and you can opt out at any time.