I’ve not always been good at social media. There are times I’ve been quite active on it, but it hasn’t all been good activity. A lot of it has been unproductive because I’ve just wanted to putz around, and some of it has been unproductive because I’ve gotten caught up in conversations that weren’t really worthy of my time, and weren’t things that I really wanted to talk about.
Since social media probably isn’t going anywhere anytime soon, and since I think it has the capability of being a good tool, I would like to start using it more wisely. After all, if the aliens I met in How to Survive an Estralarian Mind Meld are correct, and we are entering into an “Age of Wisdom,” I’d better start practicing it one of these days. For me, part of that is limiting my time on it, and part of it is producing better content.
Several months ago, I got very fed up with people dismissing people by just calling them by the two qualifiers we’ve come to embrace in American society, so I banned the use of the words “conservative” and “liberal” and started deleting comments that used them. I recognize that censorship isn’t really appreciated in America, but I don’t really consider my Facebook page as part of America. It’s an outreach portal for the Autonomous Nation of Stevetopia.
In Stevetopia, we believe that the left and right are still both part of the same thing, and dividing two parts of a thing up into warring factions only creates competition, and does not lead to the harmony we truly seek. For instance, in the American system, whether you call someone a conservative or a liberal, they are still part of a system that looks to money as the most important qualifier of success. In Stevetopia, we believe that life is about more than money, so we feel (of course, that’s the royal we, since there is really only one of us living in Stevetopia) that classifying people by calling them “conservative” or “liberal” or “republican” or “democrat” or “left” or “right” is a manufactured ignorance perpetuated by a system that just wants to keep people working and buying so that whatever side you think you’re on, you’re supporting those who are running the system.
All of this is to say that I think we need to have more intelligent conversations.
So if there happens to be a discussion happening on my Facebook wall, and someone starts classifying other people by two of these factions instead of actually lending thoughtful comments, as the Goodwill Ambassador of Stevetopia, it is my duty to delete those comments. It’s sort of like pulling weeds in a garden. If I want to grow healthy fruits and vegetables, I don’t want other invasive plants spoiling the crops, and if I want healthy discussion, I have to destroy the weeds of ignorance.
Anyway, my diligence in stamping out these qualifiers is not meant to just make my Facebook friends a bunch of people who agree with me, but more to curate the possibilities of intelligent conversation by getting rid of those who are going to say ignorant things. Now, don’t get me wrong, I do enjoy the occasional jolt of stupidity as much as the next guy, but ignorance and stupidity aren’t quite the same thing (but maybe that’s a conversation for another time), and ignorance just wears me out.
Nevertheless, my Facebook experience is mine, and I have the ability to cultivate it however I like in order to give me the best possible experience. So I apologize to those who I will probably censor in the future, and to those who I may have to block, but if you want to engage with me, you’re going to have to turn off FOX news and up your intellectual game.
As a warning, if someone persists in using the terms of extremism required to participate in American politics, I will most likely have to block them from the discussion. I may see them in the real world and hope we’ll be able to hug things out, but I want to have fun on Facebook, and if you just want to argue about the trivialities of American politics, you’re going to go have fun on somebody else’s wall.
Ultimately, if we’re ever going to have any sort of progress as a civilization, we’re going to have to stop seeing parties, and start seeing people. I look forward to engaging more with people.