Facebook Illusions

breakfast-club-social-mediaIt is interesting how different social media platforms are used for different things. And this seems to support Marshall McLuhan’s famous statement: “The medium is the message.” As I have written about before, every medium is created for a specific purpose, and no matter how that medium is used, that specific purpose will manifest itself.

Take Facebook. Facebook is a platform created for you to present yourself, in the best possible way, to people who know you. Unlike Twitter, where you present your opinions (usually anonymously) to people who don’t know you, and unlike Instagram where you present images to people who don’t know you, your Facebook page is directed at people who know you and who you want to impress in a way which is positive to yourself.

facebookvsreality

But of course, your life is never perfect. Even when things are running quite well, your life most often falls short of your ideal expectations. But what do you present on Facebook? You present your life as though it always meets your ideal expectations. Therefore, your Facebook page is mostly deceptive.

And I often see this phenomenon with an organization’s Facebook page as well. Beware, when viewing a charity’s, or church’s, or missionary’s Facebook page. All may not be as it seems.

For example, I remember viewing a post by a missionary who had only recently begun working in Cambodia (which is where I live). The post consisted of several pictures of the missionary working with a western medical team. There was no written description of the post, only the photos. Anyone viewing the post would automatically assume that the medical team was there under the organization of the missionary, and sure enough, all the viewer comments proved that: “Great job!” … “You’re changing Cambodia!” … “Amazing team!”

Western medical teams don’t just partner with anybody. Those doctors are taking precious time off work and investing thousands of dollars into the trip. They don’t want their time wasted, and so will not partner with some new missionary who has only been on the field for a few months. So I was a little suspicious and I asked the missionary, “Was that your medical team?” No, of course it wasn’t. It was a team working with a well established organization, and the missionary had merely volunteered to help them for a day. But the Facebook photos made it look as though the missionary was running the show.

Maybe it’s not a big deal, and I just need to relax a bit. But this kind of stuff has always bothered me. I’ve seen it so many times that all the little examples build up and up into a big steaming pile of BS.

Perhaps I am just projecting here. How much of this am I guilty of myself? Would I even be able to see myself doing it?

As a Christian, one of the things I love most about Jesus is the fact that He is always sincere. Jesus will always present things as they truly are.

God is light and in Him is no darkness at all.

Stay true!

Related reading….

‘The Medium is the Message’

BS’rs vs Liars

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Free Speech is for Jerks

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Screenshot of the blog “The Baconfat Papers”

Recently an Edmontonian man was charged with hate speech for a blog he wrote called The Baconfat Papers (www.sunrayzulu.blogspot.com). The blog has been removed, but I found some of his articles via Wayback Machine.

Now, while I hate racism and think it’s evil (and this guy’s blog was especially despicable — basically at the Westboro Baptist Church level), if a guy wants to write a racist blog, he has the right to do so. That’s free speech, and free speech is for jerks too. If you are offended, don’t read it.

If a guy writes a blog which physically threatens someone or calls for others to physically hurt someone, that’s different. That’s no longer free speech of course, since someone’s life may be in danger.

I don’t know if the author of Baconfat, Barry Winters, actually physically threatened anyone; maybe he did. If he did, yes he needs to be charged — but not with hate speech.

“Hate Speech” is one of those ambiguous terms that confuse the issue and leave too much room for abuse. If Barry Winters physically threatened someone, then let him be charged specifically for that. Or, if he called for others to physically hurt someone, let him be specifically charged for that. But if he just wrote a bunch of blogs about how he hates Natives and gays, so be it — that’s just his opinion. It’s evil and wrong, and you can either write to him and tell him why he’s wrong, or, more wisely, just ignore him. There are plenty of guys like Barry Winters out there. They pose no threat unless we give them a platform. And the way to remove their platform is to ignore them — not remove free speech for everybody. Because in the end, who will it be that defines “Hate Speech?”

~Further reading…

He may be Canada’s ‘ultimate troll,’ but should Edmonton blogger be charged for spreading hate?

Progressive Conservatism

This is What it’s Like to be a Race Baiter in Alberta

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The Folly of Categorizing People

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Marxist ideology catagorizes you — by your wealth, your politics, your status, your skin color, your gender, etc… And once you’ve been properly categorized, you will no longer be judged as an individual, making individual decisions and performing individual actions, you will only be judged by the category you “belong” to.

This only works to create division in a society as it destroys the ability to discuss and debate ideas. It over simplifies life by placing everyone into overly general categories. Not all black people think the same, believe it or not, therefore some blacks will oppose something like “Black Lives Matter,” or they might even be conservative.

Social Media very much fuels the fire of Marxist ideology as it causes people to judge others simply by what they post on social media. It’s like road rage. Someone you can’t see in their car cuts you off and you are ready to slit their throat. Meanwhile, the same person bumps into you while walking on the street and is able to make eye contact and apologize. Your anger is immediately diffused as you see a real living individual human in front of you and not some abstract evil who could only be your enemy.

I know people from where I used to live who were friendly acquaintances, but who now only have contact with me through social media. Never in my time spent with them in the past did political opinions create strife between us, even though our political leanings were in opposite directions. But now, whenever I post something politically conservative on Facebook, these same people become offended and angry. Now, I am not opposed to these people criticizing what they believe to be bad ideas, but that’s not what’s happening. They see the post as being the one and only thing which defines my entire life: “He’s a Christian conservative!”

I’ve made it my new years resolution to never treat people like that; to never judge a person solely on what they put on social media. I will still criticize bad ideas, but I will not categorize people into little boxes just because they express one idea in a way I don’t agree with. The same guy who praises Bernie Sanders, or Donald Trump, on Facebook is also a father, a husband, a hard worker, a generous giver, and a friend. He is not some faceless enemy stuck in an impenetrable category forever separated from myself.

At the same time, I realize that posting political stuff on Facebook may not be the best idea. Most people go on Facebook for fun and are not interested in being hit with politics or religion. I would never go to a birthday party and start spewing off political opinions. Facebook may not be the best medium for such things. Twitter seems to be a better medium for it as no one knows who you are there. A quote I read recently: Facebook is where you lie to your friends, and Twitter is where you tell the truth to strangers.

No matter what the medium, the Marxist strategy of fitting jamming people into over simplified categories will only ever lead to tribal warfare.

Related reading: A Lesson We All Can Learn from the Chicago Torture Case