Why You May Be Leaving My Social Media Feeds Soon

Ah, the joys of social media. I like it - mostly. My friends and relatives are both local and scattered, and Facebook - and to a lesser extent, Twitter - are handy ways to stay in touch.

I consider myself to be a very tolerant person. Except when you are ignorant, and then I draw the line.

Both friends and relatives are an diverse bunch in terms of age, interests, economic status, political and social stances. Among the more politically and socially conservative, face-to-face, we tend to agree to disagree after a few intelligent and civilized forays into the discourse. We move on to more immediate and directly impactful subjects - family, travel, music, food. On social media, the status updates also lean more toward family, travel, humor, and, of course, cats.

But occasionally, something happens out in the world that results in my removing someone from my newsfeed. I want to say at this point that I have rarely, if ever, "un-friended" or blocked someone. I simply edit my newsfeed in Facebook as I see fit (or mute on Twitter).

The first time I did this, it was regarding Facebook games. I got tired of wiggling around Facebook's manipulations that kept forcing me to see invitations and updates for games my friends were playing, even after I would "hide" those posts and their ilk. So, my "friends" that were playing Candy Crush all day, every day, to the apparent exclusion of all other activity - gone. Removed from my newsfeed. Rude, cruel - maybe. But life is short, people.

There were other instances. A few evangelical Christians found their way in, and then right back out of my feed. I have no problems with anyone thanking their gods and/or saviors for health, happiness, and a winning lottery ticket. But the preaching? No. Had a couple folks all up in arms about a woman being featured on our currency, because we haven't had a woman president, so how could a woman be allowed on a $10 bill?

Like, what do you even say to that? You don't. You curate those people right out of your social media feeds.

And now we have Paris. And Beirut. And Russia. And pick a spot, any spot, in the Middle East. I live in a state with a governor who seems to think he has the ability and the authority to restrict the movement of legal immigrants - who haven't even arrived yet - based on their country of origin and nothing else. And I have people in my social media feeds who think it's OK to repost dangerous, ignorant quotes, comments and memes from such pillars of society as Ted Nugent, or simply random conservative sites that I just know they haven't bothered to actually read. They are just reposting whatever stupid, reactionary, popular post of the day they have come across.

And that is ignorant. It ignores the reality that all three of the "major" religions are steeped in violence, and yet not every adherent of those religions acts on those religious "directives," nor are such actions encouraged by the mainstream clergy. It ignores the reality that the majority of people fleeing Syria and other repressive regimes are doing so to find safety and some measure of security and stability. It ignores the reality that there is nothing - nothing! - that will guarantee that a terrorist will not slip through the various security measures in place throughout the world, and ignite death and destruction here in the United States and elsewhere. It ignores the reality of history, which shows without doubt that terrorists are not a new thing, and are not exclusively "other" - other beliefs, other skin color, other country.

So, a few of you may be leaving my social media feeds very soon. And a few of you may be muttering about free speech. Yes, you can say almost anything you want, but you are not protected from the consequences, and I am not forced to agree or even listen - especially in my own space. Also, I suggest you check the language of the First Amendment. It's probably not what you think it is.

I consider myself to be a very tolerant person. Except when you are ignorant, and then I draw the line.