As those of you who follow me on Twitter and Google+ know, I am not a fan of Facebook. If I didn’t have to, I wouldn’t use it. But Facebook has pretty much woven itself into the fabric of the modern internet. I have family, friends, and clients that exclusively use Facebook; I use services that require a Facebook login; news websites use the Facebook commenting system; and yes I maintain a presence on Facebook for Blog Oklahoma. Now I can go off on a rant just about Facebook, but I’ll save that for another time.
In this episode I’m going to talk about the experience I’ve had over the last few historic weeks regarding Facebook comments. I’m bending my own rules regarding this podcast because I am bringing up those topics I’d typically avoid, religion and political opinion. I felt strong enough that I wanted to bring this to you attention in the hopes that civility could return, but I seriously doubt that will happen.
The one thing you should never do is interact with Facebook comments on politically charged news articles. Think of it as the same rule as not feeding your mogwai after midnight … for the exact same reasons.
I made a mistake, I interacted on a news article, and Stripe got into the leftover chicken.
The recent Unites States Supreme Court’s ruling about marriage equality and the Oklahoma Supreme Court’s ruling about the 10 commandments monument needing to be removed from the State Capitol grounds has brought out the worst in Oklahomans within Facebook comments.
I’d like to point out that I agree with both of those rulings, and I stated so on a news article with Facebook comments.
There are those who are polite, express their opinion, and move on. If Facebook comments were full of these people, the world would be a better place.
There are those who share the facts, mostly without comment. If Facebook comments were full of these people, the world would be a better informed place.
Facebook is full of derisive comments. It didn’t take long for people to start exchanging insults, getting quite personal, and many are caught in the crossfire. You might find a few threads here and there were there was a civil debate, but for the most part it was an all out flame war.
I want to point that there was derision from all sides, but it was overwhelmingly from the far right of the political spectrum.
Here’s the part that leaves me heartbroken. I have to say the worst of the worst of the comments came from the so-called self described Christians. I say so-called because there is no way these people represent the faith that I learned in Sunday school and hold very dear.
Anyone who had differing opinion was a leftist devil worshiping socialist atheist. There’s a whole lot wrong about that ignorant statement. Declarations were made that this is why the State of Oklahoma and America are going to hell, this is not what the Bible teaches, America was founded as a Christian nation, we should impeach the Supreme Court, we should change our Constitution, and the finally the talking point of the hour, this violates my religious freedom.
There were many who tried to educate these sad people by sharing the facts about the cases and what each ruling was based on within both the United States and State of Oklahoma Constitutions. Some gave history lessons about the founding of America. Some even shared Bible verses about loving thy neighbor and providing counterpoints and corrections to misused scripture quotations. None of this worked of course. It just ramped up the vitriol.
Oh and the light help you if you had used the rainbow overlay on your profile picture. You were especially targeted with hate filled remarks.
I was not immune to this either. I used the rainbow overlay on my Facebook profile picture, because I was happy for my friends and neighbors, and wanted to show my support. I received some, let say, insulting remarks. Luckily for me though, I’ve been managing forums, comments, and other services for some time and have dealt with all manners of gremlins, trolls, and asshats. It's always a good idea to learn where the block & report buttons are.
I’m not immune from knee jerk reactions. I’ve been know to leave a comment or two, but I also try to temper what I write down. Once a flame war erupts, sometimes its hard to get out of it. The best advice I can give is to just let it go. You’ve made your point, move on.
This kind of uncivil discourse is not exclusive to Facebook comments. Reddit is really bad about it and Twitter can be at times too. What makes Facebook stand out though is it’s not entirely anonymous. That’s your name right there, and often times that’s your smiling picture too. If they acted the same way in real life as they do in comments many of these people would already be in jail. You know the real life equivalent to a report and block button.
Let’s just hope these Facebook comments don’t get wet.
Links from this episode
Blog Oklahoma on Facebook
Constitution of the State of Oklahoma
Constitution of the United States of America
This episode's bonus interesting articles
Three Laws of The Internet Explained! - Idea Channel
New Horizons Mission to Pluto
#science #space #pluto
Oklahoma Theocrats Lose Another Case - Okie Funk
#oklahoma #blog #commentary #law
Keith Olbermann Is Out At ESPN
This episode's bonus musical selection
Drink by Alestorm
Hangover by Alestorm
Spellbound by Lacuna Coil
This episode's bonus Audible book recommendation
The James Thurber Audio Collection: Fables and Selected Stories by James Thurber