Social Media Problems: Avoiding Conflict Online
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Before we had Facebook and Instagram and Snapchat, we had real conversations with other people. We didn’t have the social media problems we have today. There was no need to “disconnect” from others. People simply went home after a long day of work and spent time with their families.
Last night was my husband’s birthday as well as my kids’ Meet the Teacher night at school, and instead of celebrating with him and enjoying one of the last evenings with my kids before they start school, I was busy defending my right to block someone from my Facebook page.
I am unapologetically a follower of Christ and politically conservative. That doesn’t make me a racist or a bigot as some would believe. Once in a while, I share (on my personal facebook page) articles and videos that stand out to me.
Recently I shared a video testimony of a woman who had turned her back on her church and God and had transitioned to a man. She spoke about how she was about to have a double mastectomy and prayed for God to spare her life. She was so afraid. When she came out of surgery, she had all but forgotten about her prayer to God and moved on, living as a man.
A couple of years later, she was helping her Mom set up a website for their church small group, and as she was reading the verses, they struck her. These verses were relatable and not what she had thought at all. She immersed herself in the Word and embraced what God had created her to be.
I shared this video testimony on my personal Facebook page, and a couple of my liberal friends became very defensive and spoke about how hurtful her story was to the LGBT community. I allowed them to continue their conversation and patting each other on the back, and this post turned into a support group of sorts for the two of them. We agreed to disagree and moved on.
One of the ladies, in particular, argues and comments negatively on every single post that I share that’s conservative or Christian in nature.
“Why not just unfriend her a long time ago?”, many would ask.
The only reason I added her as a friend in the first place is that our sons played sports together. I helped put together a Facebook fan page, and in order to add people to the group, you have to be friends with them first.
Big mistake. Lesson learned.
4 Social Media Problems to Consider
There are four main social media problems that can arise, and I want to draw attention to them so that you don’t have to experience the same issues that I have.
- You feel obligated to be “friends” with people you’d never hang out with in “real life”. Social media mixes together a lot of water and oil. It’s a melting pot of personalities and beliefs. There’s nothing wrong with that, and I believe that everyone should be allowed to express their own beliefs on their personal page. But when you start consistently invading other people’s posts for the sake of pushing your own agenda or being negative, don’t be surprised when you get blocked.
- Mutual friends don’t really matter. Facebook has a featured called “People you may Know” with suggestions of people with mutual Facebook friends. But a lot of people add Facebook friends simply because they feel obligated (like my son’s sports moms and dads), so you can’t really gauge a person by comparing mutual friends. You need to personally vet each and every friend request to avoid personality conflicts. If their page is private, don’t add them. Yeah, it may be awkward the next time you see them, but if they ask, you can let them know that you only accept friend requests from family and close friends.
- What happens on Facebook doesn’t stay on Facebook. For some reason, social media problems turn into real-life problems. Some people take social media too seriously. They think that you should have to explain your reasoning for not choosing to accept their friend request or blocking them because they went on a political tirade on every single conservative post you shared.
- Not all social networks are created equally. Facebook, for instance, is more personal. It’s a great place to share photos, videos, blog posts, articles that interest you, etc. Twitter is very short, to the point, and a great political platform to argue your stance on something. Instagram is great for building businesses or becoming an influencer. Snapchat is a huge platform for my kids’ generation, although plenty of millennials use it regularly. Choose the platform that you can make the most of your goals. If you want to keep it strictly professional, opt for Linkedin.
Social media can be a great place to share your family, your personality, your style, your business, and more. But it can also be a cesspool of negativity. Steer clear of social media problems by vetting your friend requests, only adding people you have multiple common interests, and choosing the right platform to accomplish your objectives.
In short: Take a stand for what you believe in. But don’t be a jerk. And remember that you are in control of your own personal social media pages.
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