Wednesday, March 20, 2013

The Mindless Masses, Following the Crowd, and the Politics of Facebook

On the latest edition of the My 2 Cents Radio Show, Robert and I discussed the phenomena of pages on Facebook that gain hundreds of “likes” within a matter of days of opening their doors and the tendency for pages that just regurgitate…I mean espouse one ideology or the other seem to be far more successful than ours.  For example, there is a conservative page run by a group of teenagers that has been open a handful of days and has over 600 “likes.”  Content wise the page is your typical conservatives-good-liberals-bad kind of thing; it was plugged by some of the more popular and well known conservative pages hence the instantaneous popularity.  While at the same time, our little Facebook page has been around for well over six months and we cannot break (or even reach for that matter) 200 “likes” to save our lives. 

Why is that?  It’s certainly not for a lack of trying (99.9999999999% of which has been done by Wobbles), yet people come to the page, “like” it, and then leave.  The exodus does tend to coincide with days that I do most of the posting on the page.  Robert has also received a lot of negative feedback from conservatives that seem to think working with a liberal is tantamount to treason or some such nonsense.  Robert has done an excellent job of networking with other pages to spread the word while I tend to just piss everyone off.  For example, I criticized a status update written by one of the larger conservative pages and hellfire reigned down upon our page.  Poor Robert then spent the rest of that day trying to appease the offended parties (though I never insulted anyone one personally, just called their ideas into question).  We lost a slew of fans on that day and still months later, eggshells are walked on. 

This is where the politics of Facebook comes in to play.  And by politics, I’m not talking government but office politics (for lack of a better term/comparison).  In order for a page to get noticed, they have to make nice with other, more popular, pages in hopes to get a plug.  This is something that poor Robert, bless his heart, has worked hard on and stressed over.  So often he has encouraged me to not go off on some people/pages in hopes to some day get a plug from them.  Well it never seems to happen because.  No matter how much Robert works at it, we still get ignored.  Now I haven’t put the same effort into trying to connect with the more liberal pages because 1) I suck at marketing and 2) those pages tend to get on my nerves almost as much as the conservative pages do and generally for the same reasons.  Far too often over the years on our page and my blog, I’ve been bombarded with mindless criticisms that require zero critical thinking at all, so no I’m not going to waste my time kissing up to those same kinds of people.  I will be nice to them because that is who I am but I will not try to impress them or sit around waiting for their table scraps because at the end of the day they really don’t get it.

Which brings me to the why.  Why hasn’t our page caught on?  Why don’t we have tons more folks following the page?  Because in order to truly get what we are doing here requires actual thought.  Most pages on Facebook, and the net in general, provide nothing more than affirmation of one set of beliefs or another.  These pages do nothing to encourage actual thought because they simply parrot with soundbite sized comments that say nothing more than we-are-good-and-they-are-bad.  Left wing pages do it, right wing pages do it, supposed news organizations do it…it’s like a virus that has spread throughout out our collective consciousness that eats away at peoples ability to think for themselves.  Why else do you think the majority of conservatives watch Fox News and leftists watch MSNBC?  Probably because doing so would make their heads explode if they had to consider anything that goes against their narrative of choice. 

Thinking for yourself is hard.  Going against the grain is something few seem to be able, or more likely willing, to do.  Things are so much easier following the herd so in a way I can understand why people do it (because it is easy and requires zero thought) but I have a seriously hard time taking anyone seriously that displays these tendencies.  That’s not to say that they aren’t good or nice people, because I’m sure that most of them are.  I also have little to no doubt in their sincerity of their beliefs; I just worry about how they arrived to said beliefs.  And don’t get me wrong…I sure as Hades don’t have all of the answers and I’m humble enough to know that I could be wrong on a verity of philosophical and religious topics, so understand that this is not me saying I’m better or smarter than anyone else because I know for a fact that I’m not.  What I am saying is that people need to take off the blinders and follow Robert Frost’s advice.
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.


  1. I have to agree, it's easy to upset people who are passionate about what they believe. Question, how often do you end up saving Robert's scorched buns? Not that often, I'm sure, because the libs are a lot harder to push to incendiary. And let's face it - you aren't that liberal. If liberalism were measured by comparison to religion, Wobbles would be Catholic, you'd be Lutheran and I'd be practicing Zoroastrianism. At least some of us appreciate it, and success isn't measured by quantity of likes, it's the quality.

  2. Zoroastrianism...that's awesome! The world's first monotheistic religion. And thank you, I'm glad that we are making sense to at least someone out there.