I have found both outlets helpful in educating the kids, keeping up with extended family and old friends, and a good place to connect with others, both those who think as I do and those who don't. It's opened my world.
I think we older folks bring the voice of reason to a world gone loco with yelling, screaming, diatribes and soapbox grandstanding, all through the use of keyboards and DragonSpeak. I'd like to think we bring a level of calm to a world that doesn't appreciate calm, that finds fault in every little thing said on social networks, and can get rowdy-nasty in a hurry.
I've recently had to "unfriend" a few people. I've had to put others into "groups" where I don't want them to be, so that they will not be offended by my opinions. I don't do this lightly, as I look upon a friend as just that, a friend. However, the accusations against me make me feel as if I don't agree exactly and precisely with some folks, I am somehow WRONG. And they let me know how WRONG I am- stridently, shrilly, demanding I accept their way of thinking about things, without reason, without civilized discourse, simply because this is what THEY believe.
My Facebook page carries a caution for those who can see it: I believe and practice what I believe and practice. You don't have to like it. You do have to accept it. Within the confines of the Terms of Service, I can place whatever I choose on my timeline. My wall, the former nomenclature of the timeline, is just that, mine.
In turn, I don't go to the timelines of others and tell them what they can and cannot post there. I may not agree with it, but that's no reason for me to type away on their space with feelings of hurt, angst, rejection or umbrage. Hey, we all have our ideas and ideals.
I will say there have been people who have had differences of opinion, and they have shown that difference with good manners, grace, their facts neatly and coherently displayed, elegantly displayed in fact. Our discourse did not make me unfriend them; quite the contrary, it made me value their friendship all the more. We can all agree to disagree, and state our reasons for doing so in an intelligent way.
I won't go into what exactly started what I consider a big loss. I will state, for the record, that if you are a friend of mine on one of the many social networking sites, please be prepared to follow my rules:
- I get to state my opinion, and that includes memes, photographs and "likes". You don't have to like them, too. You don't have to look at them. I am very willing to put you into a group where you won't see them. That's why the groups are there.
- Please don't imagine things into my postings that aren't there, or read into what I've written. This type of media is not the place for deep ideas, but a lot of quick postings, even if there is space. I try not to write long diatribes, or esoteric theses. Again, there are groups for that. We all know what "assume" does. Please don't assume.
- I am Catholic, not a Cafeteria Catholic. I stand with the Church on Her doctrine, which can't be changed or altered; indeed, it hasn't been changed or altered in 2000-plus years (so if you're hoping it will, save your time and hope no longer). I understand there are Catholics who do not, for whatever reason, agree with the Church, as they are the ones who complain loudly, while our Separated Brethren tend to be calm and open to discourse. Don't expect me to agree with you, allow you to post things on my timeline that disagree with Church teachings, or allow you to use your keyboard to yell and scream outrage at me, God or the Church. I can explain them to you, if you want. We can politely discuss them. But, as an example, you don't get to come on my timeline and tell me you plan on doing unspeakable things to the Creator of the Universe, when if you said you were going to do those things to a human being, you would be locked up and charged with at the least attempted assault and harassment.
- Please don't use vulgarity. Please. There's no point. Social media is VERY public, and it's just trashy in my mind.
Oh, and lest you think all the folks who've been unfriended were young and hot-headed, making demands against God and Country- I've eliminated several seniors for out-and-out vulgarity. I don't care if a person IS the son of a female dog, or for that matter, the female dog in person.