The advent of social media outlets have made a small world even smaller. Friends of yesteryear and family rarely seen or heard from have been brought back together via Facebook, Twitter and other internet social mediums. In addition to reconnecting with family and friends, people voice their views on an array of topics for others to read. We often see inspiring quotes from notables of history or links to headline making news stories with a clever or witty comment. Often people — myself included – make use of their own personal billboard to express religious, spiritual, political, and social views.
I’m sure we’ve all been unfriended, unfollowed, or un-whatevered by people we know for expressing our views on particular subjects, or perhaps even for disagreeing with theirs. Over the past couple years, I’ve intentionally remained silent on a couple specific hot-button social issues. I find that some people are far too sensitive to handle disagreement on certain positions they hold so dear. Maybe I shouldn’t censor myself, but I do on two subjects in particular.
This speaks to a greater problem I think: there is what seems like a large number of people who like to hold beliefs because of its social popularity. I’m convinced these people view outlets such as Facebook as ”safe” places to pontificate their views on controversial topics without fear of being confronted or questioned about them. Feel free to like what I say, or keep your opinions to yourself, is the attitude with these people. They want their ‘friends’ to be social media “yes-men”. These are the kinds of people who will not discuss controversial issues elsewhere, like in public or at social gatherings, and they exploit the unspoken expectation of politeness from their friends. So when someone comes along and doesn’t conform to the implied agree or hush, it comes as quite a shock.
I can only guess that these people think social media outlets are semi-private, like a gathering in one’s living-room. I disagree. My view is that any time you voice an opinion — especially on the internet — it is open to criticism. There’s no shelter because you are amongst ‘friends’. Unfortunately, the only way to dilute over-sensitivity is to do away with both the self-esteem movement and the idea that moral, political, religious, and spiritual issues are mere matters of preference rather than truth. In reality, some ideas are right and others are wrong. The kinds people who get bent out of shape over disagreement or difference of opinion place a high value how their views make them feel, and not enough value on whether they’re true.
So whether you are updating your status, tweeting, or blogging, when voicing your opinion on controversial topics, understand other people have an opinion too. If you are sensitive to criticism or opposing points of view, I suggest you — and not they — keep it to yourself.
Do you censor yourself on social media? Are there topics you won’t discuss because of the tension it creates? Should you?