Given my memories of them, I am glad I don't have any high school classmates on Facebook.
Several of mine have grown into themselves and seem to be nice enough people, and I'm perfectly glad to see what they are doing now. I expect they feel the same about me.
Some others apparently have not managed to grow as people since they were 15, and that's a shame.
I have a Facebook-friendship with someone I remember as the little boy around the corner. He's actually turned out to be apparently decent and possibly interesting. The other day he posted a link to a video of a little skit about negotiations on a first date, which was fairly stereotypical but amusing, but at the end there was a comment about the ethnicity-dating-website the people had used. So I commented that it was amusing but I wouldn't be linking because it was a bit racist, it turned out that he hadn't understood that comment, he apologised, and he took it down.
Which was far more than I'd expected, because, yeah, my experiences are usually more like the ones you describe.
Yes. Any of us may have people we need to say "Really? You thought that was even slightly okay?" to, but high school classmates seen only on Facebook are not among them. (I defriended someone here for less extreme, but persistent, political stuff a few years ago. Conservative, okay (though they seem to be making it harder to be conservative without hating or advocating the oppression of queers, nonwhites, or women). Using my journal to retail Republican Party lies, no.
Right, I figure once I've done it and not convinced them, going around and around on the same issue with the same person might have value, but the odds are lower.
I have learned not to read anything by Kersten because I am supposed to keep my blood pressure under control, and like many of her ilk, she lies and distorts. Just like I have "de-friended" people who have political, and sometimes other, opinions that I think are wrong. Not just different from mine, but actively evil. I suspect conservatives of her sort never friend people who are different from them in the first place.
I think you are likely correct about extremists (not just conservative extremists) not friending people who don't agree with them. Although I suspect that if they tried to a lot of people just wouldn't accept them. After all when we meet someone again after a gap of years there is always that initial exploration of where we've both got to, then an assessment of whether we actually want to develop a relationship with them and how close that relationship might be. It happens differently on the net because it's not as quick as face to face, but it's the same set of decisions.
"I suspect conservatives of her sort never friend people who are different from them in the first place."
I was thihnking along that line. If she's going to count the de-friends, she should also count how many people you friend in the frst place.
From sitting on boards and working in politics, I've met people with a fair range of political opinions (at least within a Canadian context). (I'm a social democrat.) Those who were simply conservative/right-wing I certainly might argue with but generally we got along fine recognizing we wouldn't agree. One of my best friends in high school/university was a Ronald Reagan fan. I was emphatically not. We agreed to disagree and talk about Godzilla instead.
But unapologetic racism, homophobia, anti-Semitism, misogyny: those were the attitudes I wasn't willing to live with. Those people I shunned.
I would have defriended those people, too. No question about it,
I've also not defriended but hidden posts of people who constantly post nothing but ignorant arguments like hers, because reading them makes me angry and tempts me to get into stupid arguments with them. I don't think anybody profits from that kind of in-your-face, one-up-on-you, ha-ha-I-win, kind of argument.
2012-05-06 10:54 pm (UTC)
We went a ridiculous number of rounds of this argument not so long ago in a free-software project that used to be my paid job and is still fairly high on my todo list.
You might think that people used to internet-mediated collaboration would understand "this is work even if you're not getting paid for it; don't bring up your politics at work" (note: most of the people involved ARE getting paid for it) and "if you tolerate people who shit on other people, in short order nobody will be having any fun anymore"?
But you would be wrong.
Yyyep. I saw that go by and thought "Telling that she can't conclude that conservatives are more obnoxious".
Well, and I have conservative friends and family who would never say anything like the above things. But I don't feel that anything but semantics has been innnnnntolerant! for the defriending of those who do.
Yes, in my case it was more a note on the bias inherent in the conclusion than a note on actual people, who are much more complex than even a reasonable conclusion will show.
Similar to a study a few years ago showing jokes to liberals and conservatives, and finding that conservatives found more of 'em funny. Conclusion, that liberals don't have a sense of humor. Problem? Er, yes.
I have a "friend" on LJ who writes things that just make me want to reach through the montior and choke them. (I know they're hiding back there somewhere.) I've thought about unfriending them several times, but haven't because it is a window into a mindset that operates totally different from mine. And I know there are a lot of people who think that very same way. To unfriend them would mean that I'm only seeing one side of the big picture - the side I agree with.
See what you did there? That's exactly what Kersten wanted. You equated "defriend someone and you only see the side you agree with" with my "defriend someone for using nasty racial slurs." It all gets put in the same category and treated as one thing.
I still have on my FB list people who have been talking about how candidates I would never vote for are the greatest and why. I still have a woman who just recently advanced an argument that dating is a horrible social ill and people should marry someone their parents introduce them to in their early or mid-twenties LEST CHAOS ENSUE. But she didn't call anybody names to advance that argument, so I can keep seeing the side of the big picture I don't agree with through her eyes without having to listen to her calling my friends and family n-----s and c----s for fun.
I didn't unfriend them not because I wanted to know both sides of the argument, but rather kept them around as a reminder of the totally alien from me mindset that is out there. Call it intell or an early warning system.
Hmm... Among my FB friends, the most obnoxious posts come from the liberal end of the spectrum. Except for the one who posts graphic photos of shelter dogs regardless of their physical location, a dozen at a time.
OK, that didn't make sense as written. I meant that the shelter dog photos are the worst thing being posted, and I have no idea of the poster's politics. But after that, there are a couple people on my friends list who speak in very insulting terms about those who disagree with them, while writing about those issues on which I do disagree with them.
I'm sorry it's gotten to the point of insulting terms. Has it gotten to the point where you've thought about defriending them? For me with the two above they were easy choices: they were over-the-top insults, and the people were high school classmates I had never been close with, so there was not a pang of, "but now I won't get to hear the news from so-and-so, whom I love or at least like a lot."
I've also had people on both sides of the political spectrum talking about the idiots/morons who disagree with them, and among them have been actual friends and (not immediate) relatives I actually would regret defriending. And that's much harder.
The most frequent culprit is a neighbor, and other than FB rants, a good neighbor, so I don't want to defriend him. I called him on the nasty tone of his posts once, and ended up having an uncomfortable conversation with a third neighbor about how I wasn't a huge social conservative and didn't object to the makeup of his nontraditional household.
The other one, I can just hide if he does it again, just to avoid hurting his SO, who I'm rather fond of.
Oh, that's the toughest one, when there's further complicating connection. There is someone I like a lot but have not friended or invited to stuff or etc. because they fall on the wrong side of the "and leave your upsetting SO out of things!" balance for me, and that's very frustrating, because the person in question is very cool--but sometimes there's preexisting relationship and you sit there going, "Really? I'm so fond of the person you're with, but you, really?"
It makes me wish for rules with boolean logic... "If post by X contains word Y, hide it."
Or even just "If post by X is a link, hide it."
I see so many articles about how Facebook behavior is an indicator of individual character and/or How We Are Going To Hell In A Handbasket. I am getting pretty intolerant of it.
As for how people treat other people in matters that are important, I've seen intolerance and tolerance at most of the points of the political landscape.