I like observing what happens on social media. Although I’m not an addict to it, I think I may spend too much time per day perusing. Sometimes I think I really need to get away from it, but there is just too much going on that keeps me interested for 2-3 hours a day. Sometimes more.
What I have noticed over time is the increase in tribalism. Yes, that’s the best word to describe what is going on and it’s not limited to two tribes as some may think. By that I mean left/right. There certainly is a distinct left wing and right wing as there is in politics, but on social media I see it broken down even further.
In a earlier post, I wrote about The 60% Solution, in that most people are not far left or far right, but somewhere between. This is really easy to determine on social media. But even in that 60% are tribes that have formed where people accuse one another of being something other that what they say they are.
I’m an unabashed conservative. I’ve never hidden that fact and I am not ashamed of my views. There are some however, that would say I’m not really a conservative because of some of my social views; That I am an atheist, anti-death penalty and pro-choice , for some reason, places me in the enemy camp. If I don’t hold certain views, I certainly cannot be a conservative. Notice my wry smile.
I’m familiar with another blogger, someone I would consider very liberal that has the same issues with the left that I do with the right. He’s far less progressive than he should be, according to some, and not a true liberal because, well, he’s actually a very reasonable person. We can’t have that, can we?
This is the tribalism that we’re all bombarded with on a daily basis on social media. It’s not that someone lis a liberal or a conservative, but how conservative or liberal a person is that others define them by. It’s a fractured community. I’m either not left enough or right enough. I am too far left or too far right. I can’t hold an opinion that may differ with either.
These mobs drive people away and do nothing to enrich the conversation on any topic. I refuse to be associated with any of them. I am my own person, yes, a conservative whether others want to recognize that or not, and I’ll continue to be who I am, not intimidated by anyone or revise my views based on popularity( there’s a lot of those, BTW).
Reject those that want to control what you think. Read widely, left and right, to determine what the actual facts are on any topic. Don’t be hypnotized by the siren song from anyone.
4 thoughts on “The Tribalism in Social Media”
Both the political right and the political left are fond of their various litmus tests to determine whether someone is a “true conservative” or “true liberal.” Neither seems to realize that this limits their numbers and runs the risk of alienating at least some more independent-minded supporters.
These sorts of litmus tests have been with humanity forever and will most likely be around until the last gasp of civilizations. One must be a “true christian” or a “true atheist” or an “authentic black” or “authentic Jew” or whatever the group describing itself claims to be that the “other” is not. It is no wonder that social media is just as rife with the same stuff as life in reality. The problem has always been seeking to overcome these prejudices if the “other” wants to participate in inter-tribal communication or intra-tribal communication. Being what is not expected takes some risk, a thick skin, patience and, most definitely, much perseverance.
Unfortunately, the risk factor has become riskier.
I see a lot of people posting on social media, Twitter specifically, things they would never say to another person face-to-face whether they are “allies” or not. It’s not reality, IMO, but a way for people to vent at other people without the social consequences.
I tend to believe that FaceBook was the beginning of the end of civilization. Twitter is its ugly and demented wrong-side-of-blanket offspring.
Too bad that the good can’t be saved and the bad tossed out. Real life civilization is a lot like that, too. What are you gonna do?