Social media in a political season is … interesting.
It seems to reveal that some in our sphere of influence do not think deeply about what is shared and/or may not care if it offends.
Which leads to an awkward situation. Those you follow may in fact seem more like those you intentionally DON’T follow.
The political season for adults who never grew up on social media is dicey. Those of us who never sat through a Digital Citizenship course ourselves are looking a little lousy at social media right now. And I’m not just talking about that clever meme you reposted without checking the source.
Okay, maybe I am trying to bust you on that meme repost. But you may need a critical friend, in truth we all need a critical friend right about now.
Seriously, by this point in the political season you likely have a strategy for handling social media posts which offend you. Many mute or unfollow, without blocking or unfriending. And while I may or may not be guilty of this myself, I wonder if that is the right thing to do?
When we intentionally narrow our sphere of influence we decrease our exposure to ideas other than our own. With a narrowed sphere of influence, we also falsely reinforce the universality of our own thoughts. Aristotle said: “It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it.” Our friends can sharpen our ideas if we are willing to engage in productive inquiry with a safe person – your “friend.”
Your social media friends may make some faux pas, some fabulously gasp-worthy faux pas, but there is a reason you are friends with them. And their ideas do not diminish your ideas. Closed-mindedness on their part instead of differing ideas would be a better reason to unfollow or mute.
Have you been guilty of narrowing your sphere of influence this election season?