Guest Blog: Tolerance (Or Lack of) On Social Media (Part 1)

{The following post was authored by Aiken High School’s valedictorian and my good friend Will Victor. He will attending Duke University next year to study Math and Computer Science. He is a juggling enthusiast, teenage philosopher, and all-around good guy. This post reflects his views on several recent topics, but mostly of the recent backlash of the topics.}

When I sign on to my Facebook, I feel as if I have stepped in to a time machine. The room rumbles, and the walls crumble. My computer disappears, and I am standing in a place I wish I would never be—“no man’s land.” Yes, I’m standing in that horrible land of barbed wire and detonated mines situated directly between the trenches of opposing armies in the onslaught of the great World Wars of the Twentieth century.

Above me fly missiles of menacing memes, and to my left fiery flowcharts flash facts as if to say, “Back-off! I’m right—you’re wrong!” I begin to ask myself, “Why am I here? All I wanted was a bit of compromise…”

I feel that this has become the territory of the modern moderate. While the left and the right retreat farther into their respective war trenches, secretly developing new weapons of cyber assertion (such as memes, flowcharts, and videos), the middle of the road becomes ever more a place of “no man’s land.”

The territory of compromise and peaceful discourse that is located exactly halfway between the right and the left has turned into a burning, exploding warzone filled with barbed-wire extremism.

Over the past six months, my Facebook mini-feed has changed drastically. What used to be stories of my friends’ families home for Christmas has been replaced by bands of liberals berating Chick-fil-a for its stance on gay marriage, and conversely, millions of requests from conservatives pestering me to “go to Chick-fil-a on August 1st to support a godly business.”

Indeed, I feel that almost every post on my Facebook has to do with someone arguing that he or she is right, and that the other group of people is certifiably insane for thinking otherwise. If one is opposed to gay marriage, then he or she is a bigotrous homophobe, and if one supports gay marriage, then he or she is a moral relativist heathen.

The thing that I find interesting in the whole situation is that no one uses facebook to actually change their views on an issue. No one compromises. No one humbles themselves. In fact, I would argue that on the overwhelming whole, the information that is shared through social media is so biased that most of it just polarizes people even further. The trenches keep getting deeper, the left moves farther left, the right farther right, and the abyss which separates the two gets so clouded with smoke from exploded word bombs that those of us who are left in the middle can’t see far enough to decide which side is winning.

{For part 2, tune in tomorrow and in the mean time, share your thoughts below.}

Sample: Anti-Chik-fil-A ad

 

 

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About derekberry

Derek Berry co-hosts and organizes Charleston youth-centered poetry movement The UnSpoken Word which features a variety of upcoming and established slam poets in various Charleston venues. The UnSpoken Word attempts to give voice to a variety of experiences and implement art to enact changes in coalition local activist movements, most notably the queer community. He also performs in venues and competes in slams across the US. He is a spoken word poet, a photographer's assistant, and a Political Science student at the College of Charleston. He worked as a journalist and columnist for Verge magazine for two years based out of Augusta, GA. He was the first winner of the 827's Holy City Slam. Derek recently published his first chapbook Skinny Dipping with Strangers and released his first spoken word album Perfect Nights, produced by Smohn Jith Studios. The publication of his novel Heathens and Liars of Lickskillet County is also forthcoming through PRA Publishing. Derek Berry has absolutely no clue what he might do with his life, but he's going to make a damn difference.

Posted on August 2, 2012, in Blogging, Controversy, Guest Blog, Random, Writing and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 6 Comments.

  1. I know what you mean Will. It’s a never ending fight. I like FB b/c I can catch up w/ familyand friends but, when my family and friends have all but abandoned their faith and go against everything I believe in it makes me sad. I hate reading about their views on politics, religion and even how i should eat (the organic argument is ticking me off too). And God forbid if I have an opinion… I guess going to Chick-fil-a today was my little jab to all of them. And by me going… I’m not saying I like or don’t like gays either. To each their own. I want to Chick-fil-a b/c it’s a fine Christian establishment. I absolutely LOVE when they close their doors on Sunday – Hobby Lobby too for that matter. Can’t wait to read tomorrows note.

  2. Will, this is exactly how so many of us feel. This intolerant work we now live in is such a sad state. Thanks for a great post!

  3. Thanks Will, what insight.

  1. Pingback: Guest Blog: Tolerance (Or Lack of) On Social Media (Part 2) « Word Salad

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