When I got my very first Social Media account, which happened when Social Media was just web 2.0, I was really excited about the opportunity to exchange all types of ideas with my friends. My account was a Livejournal blog, and I figured, “Hey, I’ll post about things I’m interested in and like discussing, people will discuss with me, and all of my far-flung friends will be sitting in the same room.”
Two topics that I find endlessly intriguing are religion and politics. This might be a bit of a shock as I have discussed neither here and have only hinted at them via my various other public accounts. When I first started posting to Livejournal, I had no restraints, so I posted all kinds of opinions, questions, frustrations, etc. And my friends didn’t participate much. I was shocked. I was frustrated. What was going on?
Some people said that they didn’t like voicing their opinions because they felt people thought their opinions were dumb. Others said that discussing such things always leads to nasty fights or “LJ Drama” as we called it back then.
Since most of my Social Media activity now is for business, I have taken that hesitation of my friends to heart. As I see some folks pumping out their political opinions, I can see the wisdom in refraining from delving into these areas. Sometimes people say things that rub me the wrong way, but I don’t feel comfortable debating the issue.
My question for you is: Is this a healthy environment? People are making a big deal out of how networked our world is. We can do business with people across and around the globe now. Don’t different religious or political backgrounds come with that as a packaged deal? Don’t we have an opportunity here to share and learn and educate in ways we never could before? The word “yes” echoes in my head, and yet the sad truth echoes as well. If you don’t like my political leanings, you might be completely turned off to the concept of doing business with me. If you don’t like my thoughts on religion, the same result could occur. All we have as introduction are words on a flashing screen. Words are powerful. Words verbalizing religious or political views are like nuclear weapons.
What are your thoughts on this issue? I know that the ladies at Outspoken Media would say that this is the exact kind of cowardice they are preaching against. Do you censor yourself? Why or why not? I’d love to hear your opinions.
Image by Aaron Murphy. http://www.sxc.hu/profile/a51media