At least according to a new Pew poll that concluded that almost 40% of us have learned that our “friends’ ” political views are different than what we had assumed. Before social media there was always that one friend, or relative, that had “outlandish” ideas, or “crazy” views that you knew you should just avoid. When, or if, politics came up it was around the table, and everyone remained civil and courteous to one another.
Yeah, kiss that one good bye! Online discussions are these days are anything but civil, with friends, or friends of friends, flaming friends and family with vehemence. What are you going to do now that you know that someone’s politics are completely the opposite to yours? For starters, you can “unfollow” that person by clicking on the little down arrow at the top right of his or her latest post. You’ll still be “friends,” but you won’t see that person’s posts in your timeline. You’ll find yourself doing this for the less serious offenders in your timeline.
The more serious, option is to “defriend” the punk by going to their page and clicking the blue friends button, rendering it white. One click and history – nobody is the wiser. The “friend” is not notified that you’ve cut them; that person may figure it out eventually. You’re not alone in defriending; the Pew study concluded that one in five of us have taken such action.
The third option are independent apps that monitor and filter your timeline, omitting posts that mention “GOP” or “Democrat”, so that you never need to see another living person’s opinions again.
Of course, these are only temporary solutions to the real life problem at hand: the loss of civility in our political discussions. After all, in this politic climate, we can’t rely on our political leaders to stop with the name-calling and shouting matches. Or maybe if we all just said: “Enough!”