I grew up in the 70s and early 80s, and wasn’t on Facebook until I was in my 40s. Thus, my viewpoint may be a little more “old school” than some, I admit.
When I was a kid, if my dad would’ve received an insulting letter from a stranger, or perhaps from someone he had barely heard of, but to which he had no ties, he wouldn’t have given it a second glance.
“Who is this person to give me advice? Who do they think they are?” he would’ve laughed as he crumpled the letter and threw it in the trash.
When someone on TV or the radio started bashing something we held dear—faith, family, whatever—we would’ve changed the channel.
So why do we let disparaging opinions of strangers on social media get to us? Why do we allow hateful remarks of “contacts” we know in name only, but who may live across the country or the world, bother us so much? Why do we get all riled up by those who hold no bearing whatsoever over us?
I would like to assert that it’s because we have this driving need to be “right,” and to be vilified by others. If we have friends and/or family who love us, and respect our views, though, why do we care what others think? For that matter, WHY DO WE CARE AT ALL?!
I assume you’ve heard of “internet trolls.” Here’s the definition, according to Wikipedia (the source for all things trivial):
“In Internet slang, a troll is a person who sows discord on the Internet by starting quarrels or upsetting people, by posting inflammatory, extraneous, or off-topic messages in an online community (such as a newsgroup, forum, chat room, or blog) with the intent of provoking readers into an emotional response or of otherwise disrupting normal, on-topic discussion, often for the troll’s amusement.” (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Internet_troll)
Are you aware there are certain people who literally enjoy starting fights and angering others? And did you further know these haters will purposefully seek out people who feel passionately about ideals the troll themselves either cares nothing about or stands adamantly against?
So this is the way it works: you are in a Facebook group, or on a page you follow. For this example, we’ll say it’s “Jews for Jesus.” An internet dwarf…ER…“troll,” will scroll through the page, leaving rude comments, trying to get a rise out of people.
Let’s say he discovered a cool, “Jews for Jesus” logo.
He baits the hook and comments, “How can you say you’re PRO-Jesus? Jews are the ones who killed him, ya hypocrites!”
The line has been cast.
Will this comment be met with love and laughter? Little, red hearts and “hee hee hee’s?”
People in this group are gonna freak, man. They’re gonna become enraged, and then the party begins, as far as the troll is concerned.
And he starts reeling in the suckers.
Laughing, I might add.
You defend your stance, your deep-core beliefs, with passion and fury! “He’s crossed the line!” you spit, and proceed to try and school him on some truth.
And you’ve just made this dude’s day. Meanwhile, your blood pressure rises. You’re more than angry; he’s left you in a frenzied rage.
I don’t know about you, but I think this is a waste of my time. I have an amazing family I’d rather be hanging out with. I have great friends who would love to come over and share a pizza. I have a whole folder full of cool tunes I’d rather be listening to. I have hundreds of DVDs I could be watching.
I don’t need some moron (excuse my French) on social media, baiting me into madness.
Let me give you some advice: cut ‘em loose.
Learn to laugh at the spite and lunacy. Train yourself to let it go.
It’s not worth it, friend.
Here’s one of my recent Facebook posts:
“I’m quick to unfollow and unfriend haters, mockers and morons. Life is too short to put up with stupidity. So to you who I correspond with daily on Facebook, I’d like to say I greatly appreciate your friendship.”
On Facebook, the “unfollow” and “unfriend” buttons can be your best mates.
The world is angry enough without us allowing ourselves to be suckered into arguments and animosity by total strangers. If this blockhead attempting to bait you into bickering isn’t your benefactor or your blood, and you have no legal or familial ties to them, scrape ‘em off. Let ‘em go.
Surround yourself with those who will build you up, not tear you down.
Just a thought.
“Do all things without complaining or bickering with each other, so you will be found innocent and blameless; you are God’s children called to live without a single stain on your reputations among this perverted and crooked generation. Shine like stars across the land. (Philippians 2:14-15, emphasis added)”