Social Media – Opening Our Mind? Or Closing It?

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I was recently having a discussion with a friend who is a low carb nutritionist. She was lamenting that everything on social media has become so polarized, so black and white, that it was hard to have open discussions. I had been thinking a lot about that. I thought it was so interesting that she chose that word…polarized…meaning “to divide or cause to divide into two sharply contrasting groups or sets of opinions or beliefs.”  Then, a family member, who has strong political opinions, recently posted a poignant article entitled “Does Social Media Cause Polarization.” Good timing.  I’ve been meaning to share my thoughts…

The article brings up some really interesting points that I have noticed over the years on social media. For me, I look at social media as an avenue for education, information, exploration, support, and discussion. But more and more, people are mercilessly attacked for sharing their point of view.

The article pointed out that in personal matters, religion, politics, (and yes…HEALTH AND NUTRITION), social media can serve more to divide us. Social media can help us to “congregate” with those of like interests, “possibly entrenching our ideologies even deeper.” The article states “We tend to congregate in social media and create an environment that is fortified by opinion and thought that pushes us further into our positions.”

Is this a bad thing? Yes and no. It is nice to be able to socialize with those with similar interests and share stories. It serves as a very effective resource for support. But what if doing so, leads us to believe that our ideas are the ONLY right ideas, that they are right for ALL PEOPLE, and that the opinions of others no longer have merit?

I see this all the time. People being attacked for sharing their opinions. It is as if there is no such thing as an open, honest conversation unless people agree 100%. What is happening to us that we can no longer have a discussion? Communication is being stifled, ideas are being squashed. This doesn’t lead to us becoming more eliightned, but rather, less.

This would rarely happen in face to face communication. But with social media, we tend to speak to one another in a way that we would never do in person. I think this is partially because are shielded from seeing the effect that our scathing speech is having on another human being.

Honestly, at times, for reasons like this, I OFTEN feel like removing myself from social media all together. But then I will get a message from someone telling me that something I shared changed their life. For that reason, I keep myself in this arena. One of my good friends in my social media groups says she loves my groups, as she calls them, the “grown-up” groups. Groups where we can have open discussions and no one will be chastised for eating an apple…lol!!

I hope that your experience on my social media site is a positive one. So far, I have never had to remove or block anyone for being disrespectful to another poster (but I will…lol!) I have had many share dissenting opinions civilly while at the same time, wishing each other well. I sincerely thank you for all of your helpful comments and your sincere efforts to help and support one another. Thank you for making my social media page safe haven for reasonableness and sanity, lol!!

I feel the need to leave you with the following warning if you choose to continue to follow my sites…lol!

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And if I post something that you disagree with? Don’t worry, it’s ok. You are more than welcome to ignore me. I’m just another person like you. I’m not ALL KNOWING. I don’t have all the answers. Maybe my post wasn’t meant for YOU, maybe it is helpful to someone else. So just put on your big girl pants and move on, lol!

Be well folks, and be kind 😉