Friday, September 19, 2014

The Company I Keep

In the years I've written this blog, the past two and a half weeks have been the longest I've gone without a post.

I've been thinking about blogging, and about Facebook, the two social media that I'm familiar with. I don't know about tweeting or being linked in and I don't do instagram or any other things. But the two I do use have given me plenty to think about.

The up-sides of social media, imnsho, are many and splendid. Social media provides a way to know what's going on with people we care about but who live too far away for us to see very often (or, in some cases, ever). Blogging has brought so many lovely people into my life; some I've met up close and personal and they did not disappoint. Others, probably I'll never meet, but I love having a virtual relationship with them. One blogger, well, I have no idea how we found each other, is a thinker and a writer and just a lovely soul and I'm excited that we have, at last, set a date to meet next month in her city. I was surprised when someone I was in school with for, I think, 13 years, but never was really close to sent me a "friend" request; that felt good because I didn't think this popular person would even remember me.

There's another side, though. I think that social media is contributing to a loss of civility. It is too easy to make a quick, judgmental response to a post on Facebook or in a blog. People "speak" hastily, not thinking about whether what they are saying might be hurtful. People respond in ways that they wouldn't (I hope) if they were in the room with the other person.

I went through a spell shortly before my self-imposed blog break where a couple of people castigated and insulted me because we had differing views on, of all things, the ice bucket challenge. Another individual flat out told me I wasn't fit to be a chaplain because I believe that a woman has the right to choose whether to be pregnant or not. Someone else  denounced me as "non-Christian" because I think everyone should be able to marry whoever they want to marry.  A Tea Party member finds me ignorant because I trust our President.

I thought a lot about these things, and about another person who is very, very quick to tell me that I am dead wrong even if the issue is a matter of opinion, not fact. I have had about enough of the quick and easy criticism from a woman who treats me as if I am an inept subordinate.

I asked myself, "Is my life richer and better because 'Delia' is my Facebook friend? What about 'Suzanna'?" And the answer was unequivocally "no."

So I've done a bit of "unfriending."  And there may be more to come. Because, frankly, I don't need to hear negative opinions of my character, I don't care to be told my politics are erroneous, and I don't want to be told off because I don't want to be bullied into having a bucket of ice dumped on my head.

I'm thinking of that famous quote attributed sometimes to Plato and other times to Katharine Hepburn: "Be kind because everyone is fighting a hard battle."

If you're a Republican, if you are committed to the rights of the unborn, if your conscience tells you gay marriage is a sin against God,  or if you need to put ice on your head to avoid giving to charity/need to post a video saying that you DID give to the charity, go ahead. I won't tell you that you are wrong, evil, non-Christian, or anything else. I won't say hurtful things about your positions.

I can live with our being different. If you can't, then, regrettably, we need to go our separate ways.



24 comments:

Susan said...

Well stated, Nancy!

Anonymous said...

A perfect post for your return to the blogosphere.
Kathy B

Marilyn Kalinowski said...

I agree totally.

quilt for fun said...

Bravo! Well said. I believe more tolerance for the opinions of others would lead to a happier, more peaceful world.

Rieann said...

Good to see you back in the blogosphere. So sorry you have had such negative comments from folk.
Like you, I really believe that 'if you cannot say something nice, say nothing at all' Rieann in Western Australia.

Quiltdivajulie said...

Amen - Amen - and Amen . . . carefully considered, well written, and completely understood.

SO glad you are back!

Sue Slater said...

Well said Nancy. Life is too short to put up with negativity. I've blocked a number of old friends because their constant right-wing posts depressed me.
Sue

Linda K said...

Happy to see your post this morning! Found your blog through quilting, but so enjoy your thought provoking posts on life in general, sweet pics of grandchildren (I have none), stories of Lancaster County (which I miss), quilts, of course, and everything in between.

Anonymous said...

Unbelievable how rude & hurtful people can be on Facebook. I may not agree with your politics or religious views, but I continue to read your blog because of the things I like about. It's like that with me in day to day living.

Cathi in Texas

Brenda said...

Good to have you back with another of your thoughtful posts!

Barbara Anne said...

AMEN, sister!

If someone believes abortion is wrong, they shouldn't have an abortion. Their view should have nothing to do with me and what I do or don't do.

One of my favorite quotations:
"Censorship, like charity, should begin at home, but unlike charity, it should end there." - Clare Booth Luce

Welcome back!

Hugs!

AnnieO said...

A serious hazard of a free society? Or just rudeness and self-importance on the part of folks who think saying what they think is "honesty"? I call those blunt and nasty comments THOUGHTLESS. The knee jerk reaction is not honest at all

Carol said...

Good for you! I am not on facebook and I don't blog now and don't intend to, for a variety of reasons. However, if I read a blog i don't like or disagree with, I do not comment. I choose to ignore it and quit reading or return to it another day. The person who writes it is entitled to her opinion even if I don't happen to agree, but that doesn't mean I have to read it. We all have choices we can make.

Tanya said...

Yeah for you! Wish I had said it!

Suzan Oxenreider said...

Nice post, Nancy. I have been doing something very similar for about a year. I rarely "unfriend" but I do block several folks and I have stopped reading so many blogs that get "preachy" on a variety of subjects on which I simply do not agree. I rarely write a blog that would indicate my political or religious affiliation. I may post something on my FB page but have only had one or two comments that made my head hurt.

Denise in PA said...

So glad you decided to just "unfriend" and not stop Facebook/blogging! I've found that your views are typically my views...you just have the wonderful knack of very eloquently stating them and I just read and shake my head "yes, yes!" But, even if they weren't, so what? Everyone's entitled to their opinions. What's right for me may not be right for you and all that. Go, Nancy! Glad your back. o:)

Shari Sherman said...

You have completely channeled my thoughts. I am always amazed at the amount of, as my kids say, "hating on" that happens in social media. I have been tempted to post a disclaimer on my blog stating that this is MY blog and if you want to blast your opinions that differ from mine, do it on your own blog.

Gretchen said...

BRAVO! Well said. I have always admired your blog for your well voiced opinions.

Melinda said...

Well said - I have also unfriended people who I realized I have nothing in common with.

Anonymous said...

Phew... still on your list of Facebook friends! Holly in Ashtabula

suz said...

Well said. I've always felt that bloggers are doing a type of journaling and are kind enough to allow outsiders into their thoughts and ideas. This is your blog and you are entitled to your opinions and if someone doesn't agree with you they can simply stop reading your blog. They don't have the right to "invade" your blog to tell you why you are, in their opinion, wrong! Let them write their own blog and express their own opinion! I may not agree with you all the time, but I do agree with you most of the time and I love how you write!

Lori said...

I unfriend all the time! I don't think it is a big deal and it is freeing! LOL Glad you are doing it too.

OTquilter said...

Thanks for another thoughtful post. I have had to remind (well, sometimes REMIND) some family members that we are on FB to stay in touch and that we can agree to disagree about political and religious issues without losing sight of our important connection to each other. But it does take patience, and no small amount of sighing on my part.

HOMES AND GARDEN said...
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