Wednesday, January 02, 2013

New rules

As I mentioned, I don't generally believe in resolutions beginning January 1st. However, this year I'm going to make an exception and it's just luck of the draw on the timing. I'm no longer playing "politics: the home game" on social media. I enjoy politics, political discussion and a good debate overall. But that's all been ruined for me.

People have said things to me, on social media, that they would never say to my face in person. The relative anonymity of Facebook gives people a forked tongue that is inappropriate. I will no longer tolerate posting a status that says "in my opinion" and be told it's wrong. You can say "I disagree with your opinion Vig" or "my opinion differs from yours," but people have taken to telling me that my opinion isn't correct. At its very essence, it's a personal thought, feeling, belief or other individual construct that is free from right and wrong and inalienable. But that doesn't hold true on social media does it?

Belligerent and berating behavior is also unacceptable and since others on social media cannot be trusted to mind their manners I will remove the opportunity for them to exhibit these behaviors. I'm obviously not naive enough to think that my posts should be ignored. That's contrary to the purpose of social media. I'm also not naive enough to think that people don't do drugs, but I don't surround myself with them. The analogy just means that I'm not going to walk into the lion's den and pull up a chair anymore.

I also no longer consider the phrase "agree to disagree" to be a valid sentence. The reason is because people constantly say "agree to disagree, but here's my opinion one more time." That defeats the purpose, now doesn't it? If we are agreeing to disagree then we acknowledge that we hold opposing viewpoints and accept and respect the other's opinion, thus ending the cycle of salesmanship. If you continue to sell people on your opinion then you are not agreeing to disagree. You are agreeing to try to convince me to believe your way.

I'm not mad at anyone. I have no beefs. My focus is just not pounding away on a keyboard frantically to defend my position. We all, myself included, can't seem to propose our point and listen to someone else's without feeling the need to prove ourselves. That, consequently, puts the other person in the spot of a defendant, rather than a respondent. We are in no position to make people feel that way, so I'm done with it.

As I redefine my life, my level of transparency and what I'm willing to discuss with people is getting a new definition as well. I have my personal beliefs on topics, most of which I am adamant about. They are, again, person and as such are beyond contestation. I won't be told I'm wrong. What if I said to you "How dare you not like pizza?" You'd tell me to take a flying leap and mind my business. Well, how I feel about politics, religion, business, etc is the same thing.

Will I still probably get on people's case about spelling and grammar? I think so. That's not a personal belief. There are rules there. There is right and wrong. There's nothing philosophical about i before e except after c.

Will I slip up and give into the urge and post a politically charged status from time to time? I'm sure I will. I'm human. Ask anyone that's ever quit anything if they've had a relapse. If they say no they are either someone with the world's strongest willpower or, simply, lying. I've been doing one thing one way for so long that I'm bound to have a knee jerk reaction. I'll make every effort to avoid that and it'll happen less with time. Just don't throw it in my face when I have a human reaction in the meantime.

If and when social media matures to a point that we are not belittled for our opinions and we can simply discuss, I'll jump back in. In the meantime, do not tempt or taunt me into it. And if anyone has the urge to tell me that this new approach is stupid I suggest you bit your lip (or fingers as it were) if you value our friendship to any degree. This is a personal choice to enhance my online experience. You don't have to like it, but if you respect me then you will respect my personal choice. Common decency and human courtesy is not too much to ask, especially now that it's been so clearly defined.

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