politics, social media

Social media can reveal a lot about a person…

A couple of days ago, I wrote about my former relative, who wrote that she thinks people should be replying “Trump 2020” on every Facebook post. I’m not sure where she got the idea for that. It seems to me like a very good way to lose friends. But anyway, even though we haven’t “talked” in ages, I was kind of curious about where her newfound spirit for social media activism came from. I decided to visit her page, and found this…

When I see this kind of stuff on a person’s page, I figure the stupid is very strong… and I know that they worship Donald Trump.

This seems to be a rather tone deaf response to all that is going on lately. Why would someone post something like this publicly? Even if what this says is technically true– and I’m not implying that it is— it doesn’t seem to reflect the attitude of certain white Republicans today. For example, it came out in the news that Derick Chauvin, the guy who killed a handcuffed George Floyd by choking the air out of him while pressing his knee into Floyd’s neck, was recently accused of voter fraud. Chauvin owns property in Florida, but has been living in Minnesota. Nevertheless, he reportedly voted illegally in Florida in 2016 and 2018. And, guess what party Mr. Chauvin is a registered member of? That’s right– the Republicans! And this is the same party that does not support mail in ballots, for fear of “voter fraud”.

As I mentioned in my previous post, I used to know this woman offline. In fact, for the first years of our relationship, our dealings were entirely in person. Most of the time, she was basically nice to me, except for the times she backhandedly insulted me. I never saw the “racist” side of her personality, though, before I interacted with her on Facebook. Maybe it’s because I also never saw it in my relatives until somewhat recently. It’s kind of sad what social media can reveal about a person. In some ways, it’s less personal than face to face interactions, but in other ways, it’s not. I think, after reading the above post and the many others she’s written since she posted “Trump 2020” on my page, she’s revealed some rather ugly truths about how she feels about people of color and those who don’t vote the way she does. She’s certainly not as “nice” as I once thought she was, and has joined the ranks of people who are obvious Trump supporters– people that Trump himself would never deign to give the time of day to, according to his long time (but now probably former) friend, Howard Stern.

Who are obvious Trump supporters? They’re the ones posting memes like the one with which I started today’s post. They’re the people who do things like drive their cars into crowds of protesters and lead Ku Klux Klan groups. Are all Republicans like this? No, of course not. Some Republicans are basically intelligent and decent people. They vote Republican, and let other people vote the way they want to vote. I think there’s a difference between Republicans and Trump supporters, too. Some Republicans– even prominent ones– are wisely turning on Donald Trump. But a whole lot of Trump supporters are embarrassingly out of touch with basic decency, so much so, that when I read a news story about someone doing something incredibly stupid, I can almost always correctly assume what political party, and more importantly, which prominent politician they support.

Last year, when we were blissfully ignorant of the oncoming pandemic and racial riots, I posted about two guys who got arrested because they got drunk and shot each other while wearing a bullet proof vest. One of the men was injured during this stunt and went to a hospital. Staff members called the police, and after they managed to get the guy to tell the truth about how he got injured, he and his friend were charged with aggravated assault. I wrote a post about it, and commented that I bet I knew which candidate they supported in the 2016 elections. One of my Republican friends commented on the post. It caught the attention of one of her more outspoken and less civilized friends, who then chose to take me to task.

My conservative friend’s friend visited my Overeducated Housewife Facebook page and bitched me out because I wrote in that post that I could tell the guys were Trump supporters. I ended up writing another post in the Facebook poster’s honor. He couldn’t understand how I made the “leap of logic” that Trump is to “blame” for the actions of these two gentlemen in Arkansas who decided to handle firearms while drinking. Trump wasn’t to blame for what those guys did, and that wasn’t my point. My point is that a certain type of person is charmed by Donald Trump, and it’s obvious by their behavior which way they vote. The Republican party is, for sure, very different now than it was when I was younger. It’s been co-opted by religious zealots, greedy people, and racists. There are still some old school Republicans out there who are not like Trump and his ilk and want to take back their party. But unfortunately, they’re being drowned out and lumped in with the monster they created in Trump.

But just to give Trump supporters a break, I will also mention that liberals have their issues, too. I can understand why some Republicans are not impressed by Democrats. It gets tiresome to read preachy, sanctimonious, shaming posts about racism, face mask wearing, white privilege, and other social issues. People love to get on a soapbox. I’m no different, although I mostly try to keep my preaching confined to my blog. I don’t agree with all liberal ideas, and I certainly cringe a bit myself when someone posts something that presumes to tell me how I should feel or behave. People probably mean well when they post that stuff, but when it comes down to it, it usually has more to do with making themselves feel better than actually effecting change.

It’s kind of like what happened ten years ago, when my older sister tried to manipulate me into driving to North Carolina from Georgia. At the time, my dad was hospitalized. She couldn’t make it to see him in the hospital herself because she lives in Minnesota and couldn’t afford the air fare or time off work. When I demurred about her proposal, having just spoken to our mom and been told not to visit, my sister tried to lay a big fat guilt trip on me by becoming extremely bitchy and accusatory (which, by the way, is NOT a good tactic to use on me). I surmised that she was doing this because she couldn’t/wouldn’t come visit my dad. She felt badly about it. Since she was feeling guilty, she figured she could nag me into visiting instead and do what she felt she should be doing, not considering that maybe I had other things to do or our mom might not want me to come.

I finally had to firmly tell her that I would not be jumping in the car and driving up to see my dad on her say so. Instead, I would speak to our mom and find out what would be most helpful for her. That’s what I did. It turned out my dad was going to be moved to Virginia anyway, so a visit to North Carolina was not a good idea. Mom wanted me to go pick up a piano that was in the house she was selling. I did that, then visited my parents in Virginia. My sister was “happy” that I’d made that concession and said she wanted me to tell her how our parents were. But the reality was, she didn’t actually care. She just felt guilty and thought that by nagging me to change my behavior, she would feel better about her own shortcomings. That’s what I feel like many of the guilt mongering/shaming posts are about– making people feel better about themselves by pointing fingers at those who happen to read their posts on social media.

I’ve seen many annoying posts from people on both sides of the political spectrum, although I have gotten rid of most of the egregious Trump fans. Every time I see a preachy post from someone reminding me to “check my privilege”, I cringe a bit inside. It’s not that we shouldn’t be “checking our privilege”. It’s more that I don’t think a person’s behavior will necessarily be changed by a Facebook post that has been passed around like a stale plate of hors d’ouerves. Could a person be inspired to change their behavior by a Facebook post? Maybe. But the ones that tend to stick with me are the ones someone took the time to write personally, not something that was just liked and shared. Most of the preachy posts– including the ones suggested by my former relative who is posting “Trump 2020” on everything– are meaningless virtue signaling posts. At best, they are very annoying. At worst, they show everyone who you really are deep down inside. It’s not always a pretty picture.

Social media has really changed how people communicate. I suspect Facebook was originally supposed to be fun– a place for friends and family to get together and stay in touch when they couldn’t be together in person. Now it’s also become a place for people to preach at others, get into fights, and share news, some of which is “fake”. I remember hesitating to join Facebook back in 2008. I was finally convinced by a former friend. Seems kind of appropos that we’re not friends anymore, doesn’t it? Social media is, in some ways, a lot less intimate than in person communications… but in other ways, it reveals a lot more about a person than they might realize. If not for Facebook, there’s a good chance I would still consider my ex friend a friend and my former relative a relative.

Well… pardon me if anyone finds today’s post preachy and obnoxious. I truly don’t mean to be that way, even though I know I am sometimes. I figure most people who are adults don’t need me to tell them what to do, anyway. I’ve mostly taken to not commenting on people’s controversial stuff now because the few times I have, strangers to me– friends of friends– jump down my throat. Life is unpleasant enough right now, and I don’t enjoy being deep throated by strangers, so I mostly stick to writing this blog… and some readers think I’m stupid for that, too. But they still come back for more. Imagine that!

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8 thoughts on “Social media can reveal a lot about a person…

  1. I agree that social media started out as fun then changed. I found out more about some people that I thought I knew. I’ve also found very good friends and we use it for the fun it could be. I keep up with some people I didn’t keep up with before. I can remember my mother calling people and telling us about the conversation at the kitchen table – that was how we kept up with friends and family. Now I can see what they are doing on any given day.

    We all have our soapboxes, I think. There’s a point someone has to know they said what they wanted to say, then leave it alone. I learned long ago life was about planting seeds and seeing if they bore fruit, not hitting people over the head with a hammer.

    • Yeah, I like the idea of planting seeds… I guess I wasn’t that surprised by my ex cousin in law’s posts. I guess I was more surprised that she thought I would be okay with them on my page.

  2. I enjoy twitter on a really limited basis, but I’m really glad not to have become involved with Facebook. It might be funny if a person could not take anything seriously that he or she read. I’m a bit too sensitive.

    I’ve seen that “White Guilt” meme. I can say my ancestors never owned slaves in the U.S. because my first ancestor arrived here in something like 1930. I have no idea what they did elsewhere in the world, though. People whose ancestors were here for very long prior to the Civil War don’t know. Records from that long ago weren’t all that precise, and don’t tell much about anyone’s livelihood, or not enough, anyway, to rule out the possibility of having owned a slave or two. Such people just think they know, or they believe whatever fits their preferred narrative.

    My mom has an older sister who still loves to tell her what to do. When my mom was diagnosed with breast cancer, the first thing she begged my dad, Matthew, and me when she told us was not to tell any of her sisters, because one of them would tell THIS sister, who would proceed to tell my mom exactly what she should do about the situation based either on something she saw on Oprah or The View or based on some situation involving some woman in her book group. When my mom was pregnant with Matt and me, this sister had to tell my mom each time she talked to her how bad double strollers were, how difficult they were to push or turn, and how my mom shouldn’t get one. This aunt had never had twins. Her closest babies were three years apart, and she invested in a really cheap double stroller that sucked, so she went back to using her old single stroller and loading the three-year-old in with the baby when the three-year-old refused to walk anymore. My mom just said, “Uh huh, uh huh” each time she talked to this sister, then spent almost four-hundred dollars on a top-of-the-line at that time double stroller, plus a lightweight double umbrella stroller. A mother of twins will go through hell unnecessarily without a double stroller. When this aunt eventually saw that my mom had a double stroller, she got really angry that my mom had gone against her wishes even though it was none of her concern. It’s a real personality issue with some older sisters.

    My mom is a bit of a hypocrite in that she is on Facebook when she paid Matt and me thousands of dollars not to do so before we were twenty-one. Anyway, she used to be apolitical on FB, but she now is posting some BLM-related stuff just because she doesn’t want to be seen as not caring or speaking out by her black friends. She’s done a few protests as well. I get where she’s coming from and I agree, but no one will ever change anyone else’s ideology with a Facebook post.

  3. Susan See says:

    I had a cousin who I thought had gotten a bit goofy as she’d gotten older, but I loved her very much. We were close when I was a little girl and I was flower girl at her first wedding. My mom helped her mom make her wedding dress and it was cut out on our dining room table. My dress was cut from the same fabric. Over the years, we drifted apart. Cousin became a mother and went on to have 4 daughters. Cousin divorced.
    Cousin and I FB friended, and she also friended my older sister. Some of cousin’s posts were really off the wall. I didn’t notice as much. My sister did, but tried to ignore it. Then the Ice Bucket Challenge became a thing. Cousin thought President Obama should take a dare on The Shit Bucket Challenge. She thought that was so funny. I did not, nor did my sister.
    We unfriended her right quick.

    • Wow! I have unfriended a number of family members over the years. It’s usually because they want to argue politics, but sometimes it’s because I feel like I don’t belong. It’s sad what happens as we get older and see people through adult eyes.

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