Mixed Feelings About My New Facebook Bubble

When I opened up Facebook for the first time on Friday morning, it was this… exactly this:

Image originally posted by George Takei on Facebook.
Image originally posted by George Takei on Facebook.

And it was glorious! I was so happy and so was my newsfeed. Rainbows and celebration. That was all.

But then the other stuff started trickling in. The ugly stuff. The outright ugly and the ugly couched as something else, but ugly nonetheless. I mean, if someone starts a sentence with “I’m not a bigot, but…” it’s generally a bad sign. It made my stomach turn and my skin crawl. And it was from people I know.

I hardly know what to say. Disappointment and disgust and, honestly, hurt. Hurt that people I know honestly believe that their fellow human beings are somehow less worthy of basic human rights than they are. I just cannot fathom that mindset, bible or not. Christian or not.

So I cleaned house. Whenever someone said, “Unfriend me if this offends you,” I unfriended. Otherwise I unfollowed. I just couldn’t stand to see it anymore.

I’m totally obsessive though (ob-sess-ive) and now I can’t stop thinking now about the bubble I may have set up for myself. A bubble free of all opinions contrary to my own. And maybe that’s a super bad thing. I’ve heard about information bias and the notion that we set ourselves up in this loop of positive reinforcement of our own beliefs and therefore it’s impossible to open our minds up to anything else.

But the honest truth is I refuse to entertain the idea that any individual is worth less than anyone else. That anyone should be denied the rights afforded to their neighbor. I refuse — so what’s the point in seeing it? It only turns my stomach.

I love Facebook for a lot of reasons — I like to keep up with people I rarely see, I like to see photos and posts and BuzzFeed lists of ridiculousness. I enjoy getting tagged in Harry Potter-related everything. It’s a great way to see my nieces. But as a place to spew hate (even hate couched in the language of “religious freedom” and whatnot), I simply cannot stand it. So what’s the solution? Hide, hide, hide? Say my piece and get lost in a sea of comments leading to nowhere but more ugliness? Walk away entirely? Goodness knows I’m not any good at just scrolling past and letting things go.

I don’t know what the answer is, but I can’t help but wonder if I’ve made a big mistake by tailoring my environment to reflect my own opinions. I’d honestly like to maybe just stick my head in the sand and stick to Pinterest and the crazy world of crafting for a bit, but I don’t think that’s the solution either. Not when I feel this strongly about something. I don’t know!! What do you think? What do you do?

 

Here’s what I think: gay people are people and people are afforded equal rights under the law. So it is ordered. Regardless of your religion (and you can have any religion you choose — U! S! A! U! S! A!), it is the law of the land. Thank goodness for that. Goodness and love and rainbows. (Now tell me your thoughts about bubbles. Please and thank you.)

9 thoughts on “Mixed Feelings About My New Facebook Bubble

  1. Just had this exact conversation with my folks yesterday. I only saw a few “anti-” things and generally I’m against defriending people over politics (though I want to soooo bad!) but they had much much more. Their friends encompass a different age group than mine AND they’re in West Michigan.

    I also have a really hard time even considering the opposite viewpoint from my own. To me, it’s a civil rights issue and shouldn’t even be up for debate. I can only hope these people are just really scared of change or whatever they think is going to happen… and when nothing changes (except MORE LOVE all around!) they’ll come around. One can hope! 🙂

  2. As a member of the rainbow club, and a scientist, I came to the same conclusion as you – but long ago. The ugliness you saw on Friday is something I experience every single day, in places you would least expect. I ran for Chair of Diversity on the postdoc council at my place of employment, and my entire spiel about being a lesbian was deleted from the ballot, leaving only a generic sentence saying something like ‘I’ll do my best to include everyone.’ Of course I e-mailed the person responsible for putting together the ballots immediately (it was late, and they weren’t in their office) – and I was given a crap apology about them not knowing my public statement was in fact public, etc etc.

    But what to do? I like my friends and family because they are diverse and they all have their own points of view. People are so angry and so hateful and when they start throwing words at you, they are turning off their ears and turning off their hearts. Nothing you say or do makes any difference. I can’t live in that sea of hate, so I unfriend those people on social media and distance myself from those people in real life.

    When it comes to other disagreements, I try to be more distant. We aren’t voting for the same person for President/etc – that’s a-ok – Elections are supposed to be by secret ballot anyway.

    I keep people in my life who can empower me to be a better human, and who enrich me with their points-of-view. There is a huge difference between someone who spews a speech with hate and contempt, and someone who speaks firmly about their beliefs but is willing to listen.

    You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make it drink.

    1. PS: The name of the place I took swimming lessons when I was a little girl was called (and still is!) The Rainbow Club– some of my happiest little memories!! No wonder I find myself an ally now 😉

    2. that’s a really great point too about those “who enrich me with their points-of-view”. There’s a big difference between posting thought-out opinions (that I might disagree with) and posting hate and bullshit.

  3. Hi Rachel – I admire you for posting this and asking for feedback. I think most of the Catholic bishops in Michigan signed a letter opposing the Supreme Court’s ruling: http://www.micatholic.org/advocacy/news-room/news-releases/2015/bishops-respond-to-decision-to-redefine-marriage/

    Our religious leaders should be leading efforts for justice. I think of all the harm statements like the one from the bishops have caused. I’m glad that you have joined Call To Action. I know how busy you are and have so many things on your mind so starting a CTA chapter in mid-Wisconsin is probably not on the radar. However, I think you will find many persons who think and feel as you do. Not just in the bubble sense, but also people with whom you could disagree but still remain as a community.

    As far as Facebook and social media, that’s a tough call. One could call someone out on an issue and then see what kind of response you get and then decide if it is devolving into a flame war. When to push back and when to remain silent????

    I love you!

  4. I tend to keep people with differing opinions on facebook because if they are a friend on facebook they have already “made the cut” and are presumably somewhat important to my life (like a family member… bless you if your family members all think the same as you, you are SO lucky). However, I de-friend IMMEDIATELY if any of them, I don’t care who it is, says something disrespectful to someone (or me, but that hasn’t happened) on my page. Like a personal attack on a friend who believes differently than they do. (This happened a few yrs ago, I had to cut off a high school friend because she was severely disrespectful to my sister.) I don’t stand for hate or disrespect on my page. They can spew whatever garbage they want on their own personal fb, but it doesn’t leak onto mine. I don’t like what I see on some other people’s fb, but I just unfollow in that case.

Leave a Reply