Facebook has become the equivalent to Thanksgiving dinner with your entire extended family.
You try extremely hard to dodge any conversation that even remotely goes near religion, politics or money, yet in today’s society that is near impossible.
And let’s face it: Why should we?
It’s fair to say that almost everything taking headlines in the news these days is controversial.
Whether it be the upcoming election, the war on terror, refugee migration, the black lives matter movement, police brutality, same-sex marriage, weed or the f*cking red cups, we all have an opinion.
More importantly, we are all entitled to our opinions.
But should you be using social media as a platform to air your frustration or jubilation on these topics?
Hell yes, you should; if that is what you desire.
Just before you post, tweet, hashtag or Instagram, step back and keep a few things in mind.
Know all your facts before you post.
As I scan my news feed and read the statuses of former classmates from middle school, I cringe past the racist remarks and uneducated opinions of people who have no idea what they are talking about.
If the most you know about the news is what comes up on your Facebook’s trending clicker, you may want to reevaluate before you comment on particularly sensitive issues.
Even by just clicking and reading the entire article instead of just the two-sentence summary you are given will give you a heads up.
Don’t be afraid to find similar articles on certain topics, too.
While journalists are taught to write news in an unimposing view, some publications tend to pull in certain directions. Find what’s right for you.
Be prepared to defend your argument.
If you feel so strongly enough about something that you are willing to share it with your 700 plus cyber friends (who may not feel as strongly about it as you), be prepared to get some not-so-nice backlash.
People love to argue, and they have every right to do so.
Instead of deleting their comments or starting arguments, stand up for your beliefs. But be cautious. Nobody likes to get called out, especially on a sensitive topic, so simply explain your opinion.
If someone is being particularly rude or cruel, then dismiss it.
There will always be that one person who wants to prove you wrong. Don’t let that stop you from sharing your knowledge. Just remember to be the bigger person.
Respect that others may have varying opinions.
Don’t automatically assume that everyone will agree with you. Actually, you should probably expect more people to disagree with your opinion than not.
Back and forth conversation is healthy, and nothing is black and white.
Respect that everyone has an opinion, just like you.
And don’t be afraid to learn from what they have to say. I would be lying if I said I never changed my thoughts on a certain topic after discussing it with others.
There is always more to every story.
Pick and choose your battles.
Recently, I came across an article posted by someone I vaguely knew from high school.
It involved Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf stating that he would continue to work with the federal government on properly screening and resettling Syrian Refugees in his state.
The comments added by the individual who posted it included his dismay, and was happy he was graduating soon and would be leaving Pennsylvania.
At first glance, I shook my head.
Despite the tragic events that have occurred recently, I disagree with many who want to categorize every refugee as a terrorist.
But at second glance, I had to step back and put into consideration that I really don’t know enough about the topic to comment.
Only recently have I explored any awareness on the current refugee migrations.
If I were to comment solely on my assumptions of the topic, I would be doing a disservice to myself and to the poster.
Know what you’re talking about before taking a stand.
As you scroll through your news feeds, or reload your timeline, don’t be afraid to tackle some of the big issues.
Be aware of the world around you, and what’s going on in it.
There are always issues that need attention, and there is always more to learn.
Just remember that you aren’t the only one with an opinion, and ignorance truly is bliss.