This morning I read an interesting observation on Facebook from Lisa Nowak. She’s noticed a big decline in presidential signs/bumper stickers in her hometown and every response cited the same two reasons for this:
No one’s mind is ever changed because of them and they invite trouble.
I agreed with everyone and don’t think this is limited to political opinions. For certain issues, I think it’s smarter to keep our opinions to ourselves. I still believe we’re entitled to our free speech, but we’re fooling ourselves if we think we can broadcast it anywhere we want without consequence.
Suppose you have presidential bumper sticker on your car. Many people who see it will form an immediate opinion about you and everything you stand for. Based on a name. One name. They know nothing about your background, how you grew up or any of your personal life experiences that shaped your opinion. Most people will quietly disagree with you and move on, but I think there’s always a chance of attracting the attention of someone who can’t move on. Their belief is so strong in the opposite direction, it’s impossible to imagine how anyone could think differently. I don’t want to be on that person’s radar.
This isn’t some sudden shift in human behavior. There have always been people ready to act against others who don’t agree with them. I think social media has changed the culture.
These days, many of us have our own little slice of the internet we lay claim to. Our forum to post our thoughts and beliefs. And if someone doesn’t agree, we can engage, block, unfriend or delete the offending commenter from existence. Unfortunately, this mentality has slipped into the real world and you’ve got people with no problem telling anyone who’ll listen what they think about everything.
Is this everyone’s right? Of course.
Is it a good idea to exercise this right everywhere? In a perfect world, sure. If anyone knows where that is, let me know.
Personally, I don’t share anything on social media, I wouldn’t share in person. I look at it as just another precaution that’s a part of everyday life.