Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Saving Face

Few people on the face of the earth do not know what Facebook is. I joined a few years ago because I was curious and because I was told it would be a great way to keep up with friends and relatives. It is that and more. It is a constant source of advertising, cute animal videos, game playing with one's self or with friends, and the worst of all, posters.
I have been disappointed, over all, by the lack of  in depth and intelligent discourse. Maybe this is not Facebook's intent, but would lend itself marvellously to such a thing. Indeed, I have been part of interesting dialogues that have gone on for a long time and have covered some important issues.
Because I seek this type of thing, I have tried on occasion to stimulate discussion by challenging a comment or the saying on a poster. I was recently challenged by a 'Facebook friend' when they accused me of 'trolling'. Here is the definition and the intent of her accusation:  In Internet slang, a troll (/ˈtrl/, /ˈtrɒl/) is a person who sows discord on the Internet by starting arguments or upsetting people,[1] by posting inflammatory,[2] extraneous, or off-topic messages in an online community (such as a forum, chat room, or blog) with the deliberate intent of provoking readers into an emotional response[3] or of otherwise disrupting normal on-topic discussion
I am a bit offended by this label as it has a very negative connotation. But then again, I just may be a troll. I had a friend at one time who would question me after I made a statement. He would ask if I really meant what I just said, or could I explain exactly what I was trying to get a across. It was appreciated by me very much and would invariably lead to some good discussion. It also made me think before I opened my mouth.  I find that few people do this. We just want a sound bite so we can move on to our iPhone or our text messaging.
Next time you are on Facebook and you see one of those saccharine posters that at first glance looks clever, take another look and then ask the person who posted it if this really represents their world view or is this something that is trying to influence our thinking away from our beliefs. If they call you a troll, tell them you are just stimulating discussion. We do not want anyone to get upset, or emotional, we just want to have a good old fashioned discussion about important things.  

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