Like, Agree, Repeat
Here’s a question: How are images of friends’ kids eating in a restaurant and friends’ political/social statements exactly alike? Answer: Both are completely sacrosanct on Facebook. And although they may not seem it, they are in fact both equally emotional statements. Although you might want to, in a million years, you should never tell a Facebook friend that their spouse, child, or pet is anything less than beautiful and interesting.
Similarly you might want to tell another Facebook friend that while you understand their unbridled enthusiasm at the recent change in the Federal Government, (and yes Justin is an attractive man) it is borderline creepy to be proud that our new Prime Minister is so handsome. But you can’t do that either…apparently. And no good comes from debating the logic of a Facebook friend’s political or social position. You just end up looking like one of those married couples that airs their dirty laundry at parties. I see that in retrospect.
Those people who post provocative statements and purport to be comfortable with the ensuing discourse, really aren’t. The unwritten rule (which I learned the hard way) is that you don’t criticize or offer opposing opinion to such posts. You either “like” or explicitly encourage in the comments section. The #anybodybutharper crew, the Pro Israel or Pro Palestinian, the hawks, the doves, the left, the right, the greens, the libertarians, pro-choice, pro-life, religious, and atheists – all post, comfortable in the knowledge that, because their community is defined precisely by who they allow into it, there is little possibility of dissent. They want to preach to the choir.
I think that the actual purpose of such posts is to publicly define oneself, …albeit to an audience that already knows who we are…and perhaps doesn’t care …in an environment where it is as acceptable to tell somebody that you disagree with their position on Keystone as it is to tell them that their kid is goofy looking. …Not that I think that my friends’ kids are ugly (which I don’t, they’re all breathtaking) …nor do I have an overwhelming urge to tell them their kids are ugly. I guess the takeaway point is just because I don’t challenge your political views on Facebook doesn’t mean that I actually agree with you…or that I want to see eleven posts (not pictures, separate posts) on your visit to the petting zoo.
Of course, if Facebook isn’t a medium conducive to discourse, perhaps the same could be said for Publisher’s Notes. And, loyal Tonic readers: don’t bother to write in to tell me; I already know that I can block specific Facebook feeds. But please do write in to tell me how much you love, love, love the December issue of Tonic. Bryce Wylde explains how you can boost your energy levels, naturally (p.30). Joel Thuna and Claude Gallant explore whether there is a weight loss supplement that actually works (p.39). Stuart Foxman gives you a tip on how to get the best naturopathic care (p.35) and Sari Nisker suggests some technology that will help you reach your fitness goals (p.18). As always, if you want to discuss this note, or anything else in Tonic, please feel free to contact me.