I’ve been wondering, since I wrote [this post] as to whether who I follow on any social media platform says anything in particular about me. I don’t think it means anything though other than in the meta. For instance, following someone that I perceive as smart doesn’t necessarily mean I am smart, it just means, that I find what that person has to say is interesting. But I do think our digital relationships, when it comes to political or social issues does say something about us as individuals probably more than we’d like to believe.
I’m a conservative which for some people means other than what it is intended. I do follow a lot of self identified conservatives, but then, I also follow a good number of people I would consider liberal, even progressive in their politics and social attitudes. I’m interested in points of view that are different than mine, and those people that appear to have a similar interest. Some users believe that following a person indicates agreement with everything that person posts. If that were the case, I know of a lot of people that might be categorized in ways they probably wouldn’t appreciate. Holding an opinion that may not be generally accepted shouldn’t imply any specific intent, unless that intent is made clear (racism, sexism, etc.).
I have noticed people be roundly criticized and sometimes it’s because what was posted was taken out of context. Of course the people that start those mass critiques of another seem to do that a lot.. I know a few times, in a back-and-forth with someone on Twitter, someone will take a tweet of mine and present it as some sort of “Aha!” moment, indicating I am something other than what I say I am and leading others to believe the same. I will reply to that person, saying they need to view the context of the digital convo before deciding.
Of course, it doesn’t always matter. There are individuals on social media, no matter what is said, that will attempt to turn a statement negative. It comes down to believing what you want to believe and it happens both left and right politically. If you’re not on my side, you’re automatically a bad person.
I try to be careful with those I follow. When I follow a person on Twitter, I take a look not only at their profile, but a quick look at some of their latest tweets. That will usually give me an indication as to their bonafides. Are they who they claim they are? If not, no follow. Sometimes it’s more difficult and may take a while to determine. It’s a difficult path to walk and we all need to be careful who we become invoved with online.