Categories
Thoughts

Why I follow people I disagree with

I was asked, for reasons I won’t go into here, to stop following someone on a social media channel by a friend of mine. There was good reason for the request in that the person asking felt that this other person actively hurts with their comments and stance.

Whether this is true, and who they are, are not for discussion here. I just wanted to state why I often follow people I disagree with, and these are the reasons I gave my friend.

  1. It is almost impossible to construct a rational argument against something unless you know, or have heard, that thing. The people I disagree with are still a source of the information I read (especially when they provides links to articles or discussions) to help formulate arguments. Whether these turn out to be favourable or something I oppose. Knowledge is power, know a thing to defeat a thing.
  2. If I only follow those people who I believe are right/good/decent/etc. I run a real risk of just enforcing my own cognitive biases spurred on by social media algorithms that encourage such. It is a big issue and one that means you have to look at arguments as objectively as possible, and looking at an opposing argument is a good way of seeing where the balance might be. The opposing point of view can often reveal faults in your own thinking and gaps in your understanding.

I feel the two above points are why I still follow people that I disagree with, in some cases massively dislike their stance and opinion and find them almost revolting.

I don’t retweet or promote their messages Following them is not a support and any claim of such would be easy to discount as overly-simplistic polar opposition.

I like to try and see the whole argument even when my immediate response and feeling is to dismiss.

Post Scriptum: I almost called this Thesis-antiThesis-Synthesis but felt it was too wanky.


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Categories
Thoughts

Love Your Community Feedback

This is just a quick post to note down a thing that I like to do and that I would encourage others to do. We all have communities whether we realise it or not, we have peers, friends, online groups and like-minded followers.

Most of us post to social media, or to private forums, or just to closed groups, and at some point you are going to say something daft, or make an error like a bad C&P, or (as is frequently the case) technology betrays you.

At some point someone is going to correct you.(1) If you say something in public they are likely to respond in the same public way. You can do two things about this:

  1. Fix it but get all butt-hurt at them for mentioning it.
  2. Fix it and thank them properly in the same public forum.

I like to opt for Option 2.(2)

Now sometimes it is especially sensitive, or you get supremely embarrassed by being corrected, you basically prefer that people correct you in private. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do option 2. It means you need to reinforce your preferences with that person so they know for next time.

As mst is always saying to me: ‘don’t attribute to malice what can easily be explained away as ignorance’.

Sometimes you need to educate people as to your preferences, and sometimes you need to tell them more than once. Doesn’t mean you need to get butt-hurt when they try and help you. You thank that person, they took the time to engage.(1)

(1) Even if they did it to be mean, small-minded, or have a sense of superiority. You get to be the better person by having the decency to reward their efforts.(2)

(2) If I ever manage to do this consistently I will be amazed as I am nothing, if not, a hypocrite who has to write blog posts to remind himself to be a better person.

Categories
Rants Thoughts

Facebook: the Sniper

Be wary as you travel the various plains of Facebook timelines as you will no doubt, if you have not been already, the subject of a sniper.

A sniper will hide in the tall grass and wait for their victim, when they engage with you it is by means of clever comment to your posts or by a subtly worded post of their own. The effect is still the same, however, you have been taken down by their superiority.

The Facebook Sniper is a perfidious breed, often greatly intelligent, insightful and witty they hone their skills not to engage, support and encourage but to destroy. They seek to balance some level of negative self-esteem by seeking superiority over others.

Their attacks are clever, always tilted to sound reasonable, balanced and above all passive, but the this is just a ruse. In truth it is an assault, intended to rile while providing the sniper with sufficient cover to hide. They draw you out to their killing ground where they can claim a justifiable kill. If you engage with a sniper it will look as if you instigated the assault and they will rally others to watch their kill.

They are a player of tiny games, seeking to lift themselves high by standing on the corpses of their kills, do not engage with them, you will lose.*

* An interesting note should be made that by publishing this post I am in fact doing approximately the same as the Facebook: Sniper myself in that I am drawing out a certain type of person into my killing ground. This realisation demoralises me slightly yet does not stop me posting 😉

Categories
Rants Thoughts

Facebook: the Sharer

This Facebook type is the constant Sharer. You know the time of day by the sudden rush of shares from their timeline as they push item after item onto their feed.

Often they follow other Sharer’s, they work best when they are in packs, passing the same tired item from feed to feed in a ceaseless bid to prove that they are socially savvy.

This type is not usually a content creator, if they do update their feed or supply something new it is often another bid for attention, to be noticed.

Their deep inner need is to be noticed, to be admired for their ability to spot interesting content and to supply them to a waiting crowd of admirers. They are less prone to ‘Like’ or engage by comment with an original producer of material.

At the core their is a deep inner need to be noticed or admired which they try to encourage by being the joker, the iconoclast, the modernist or the reactionary. In reality they are rarely anything but. Often conservative, dour and traditionalist the Sharer just wants to be admired, noticed and loved.

Phrase that you imagine them saying: “Look at this cool thing I found!”.