Social Media Politics

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I may be in a minority here, but it’s getting harder and harder to tell when I’m watching politics from when I’m reading the conversations on some of my favorite blogs these days. As things change, money comes into the picture and a new wave of bloggers emerges, the “vibe” inside the social media bubble is feeling a lot less hospitable.

I don’t want to get lost in the who are the Republicans and who are the Democrats nonsense (although it would be a funny post if anyone else wants to write the damn thing), but what I do want to point out is this… At the moment, no matter what your leanings are, it has always been difficult to have a political conversation and it is starting to feel similar in Social Media.

I don’t want you to think this post is about any one thing and I don’t want you to think I’m avoiding naming names. It isn’t and I’m not. Simply put, I think all of us have lost our collective shit a little and we could all use a little perspective.

It’s not that there aren’t rational people out there. It’s not that there aren’t kick-ass people on both sides of the divide that has emerged (or at least widened significantly). It’s that the noise has completely overwhelmed the logic. It’s gotten to the point where you can’t disagree or have an unpopular opinion without being labeled a “hater” (officially the world’s stupidest word ever for those keeping score). It’s gotten to the point where questioning someone who may be considered an A-lister (another really stupid term that is quickly gaining on hater) is enough to get you tarred and feathered.

Call me crazy but I’m a fan of nuance, a fan of debate and a fan of taking a stance and potentially (read: often) being wrong. It is one of the reasons I’ve never fared well in political conversations. However these odd little quirks were what drew me to the social web in the first place. It was new, it was growing and it encouraged us to question every thing and every one. We had to do it with respect, but there wasn’t much that was off limits. We were all learning together, everyone from those just starting out to those at the top of this emerging game.

Nowadays it seems as we’ve joined teams, political parties if you will, that are spending more time attacking or dismissing one another than discussing the work that we love. The energy that once drove the space is slowly but surely turning into ire against one another. It’s sad, it’s unfortunate and it’s getting to the point where it is harmful.

Polarizing opinions are a good thing, but only when they lead to the kind of debate that fosters innovation… only when they inevitably lead to middle ground. Otherwise, it is just political rhetoric, plain and simple. Most of these once productive conversations have become severely adversarial or have stopped altogether. Worse yet, it’s the kind of rhetoric that takes away from the sense of community that helped this space get to where it is today. A feeling that is quickly being replaced by anger, jealousy, resentment and hate, just like the exceptionally hostile and unproductive political climate we see all around us today.

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  • Anonymous

    @mschechter:disqus You know no matter how good your idea is, it really is not good unless it is lock step with the perceived notions of Mount Douchemore.
    The thing that really gets me is how nasty, much like politics, folks get when you say something that challenges their golden idols. And if I do recall you were put into a conspiracy theory and taken off the Hanukkah card list of some twit with an awesome online handle that can spot trends a mile away.

    • http://michaelschechter.me MSchechter

      It’s true, but I think my whole take away from the whole Hannukkah revocation is that sometimes we may be as much of the problem as the other guys. Certainly won’t be taking the high road any time soon, but think I will be a bit more strategic with my shots. Would rather spake a half-decent debate with someone who disagrees than great high-five fest with people who agree 100% (not that I don’t love it when people completely agree with me). It was a little nuts what happened there, but hey, sometimes if you poke the bear at the zoo, he tries to bite your finger off.

  • http://doughaslam.com Anonymous

    MY summary: “Can’t we all just (not) get along?”

    • http://michaelschechter.me MSchechter

      That really needs to be a t-shirt…

  • Jen Zingsheim

    Great post, but it’s telling that you had to clearly state “I don’t want you to think this post is about any one thing and I don’t want you to think I’m avoiding naming names.” I guess I’m still astonished that one can’t disagree with a post or a statement or an assertion without the potential to have supporters lambaste you.

    I was raised to challenge ideas and engage in healthy debate. It’s how we learn, for heaven’s sake. Of course it must be done respectfully, and fie on those who attack rather than discuss.

    That the divisive behavior and discussion that surrounds politics is bleeding over into all discussions, from social media to crunchy vs. creamy peanut butter is not a hopeful sign.

    • http://michaelschechter.me MSchechter

      I added that in because I was trying to explain that this was a general feeling rather than a reaction to any one thing, but I still see where you are coming from. Never worried about a lambasting :)

      P.S. Creamy all the way!

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