Paddling with Repubs & Libs..
Big man, pig man, ha ha charade you are. You well heeled big wheel, ha ha charade you are.
And when your hand is on your heart, You’re nearly a good laugh, Almost a joker,
With your head down in the pig bin, Saying “Keep on digging.”
Pig stain on your fat chin. What do you hope to find. When you’re down in the pig mine.
You’re nearly a laugh, You’re nearly a laugh
But you’re really a cry.
- pink floyd
I chose to de-friend someone on Facebook today. Most of us feel a little crappy when we feel we have to do that and that’s why our friends list becomes unwieldy and filled with folks we’ve never met! Still, it really sucks when you’re reading posts from family and friends and suddenly some dude starts harshing your buzz with their political, self-aggrandizing hatred and contempt. This is part of what we’ll be talking about at the Great Lakes Sea Kayaking Symposium when a few of us paddle bloggers take on the subject of Paddling & Social Media. Today I’m going to get a head start….
One thing that makes my teeth hurt when I browse through my Facebook feed is political hyperbole. I don’t care which side of the table you stand on. The stuff almost always starts with, “You Libs” or “The Repubs” and then goes on to repeat some political talking point that’s already been repeated ad-nauseum and presented in a way that begs no thinking person to take it seriously. I have and will remove both. But all of you, “No politics!” people should hold off on the hand clapping..
I don’t buy into the “hear no evil, see no evil” concept either. I don’t believe the mantra that no one should talk about important issues, or the “keep your religion to yourself” ideal either. I envision that scene from the original Planet of the Apes” where the three orangutan judges refuse hear that apes could have been preceded by intelligent humans.
I think we’re failing ourselves and humanity as a whole when we are not listening to those with who see the world differently than we do. There is always something to learn outside of our own echo chamber. We don’t have to agree, but we should be able to agree to listen and discuss. In fact, I feel that we should relish in questioning our core values. If we cannot or will not be bothered to defend them, we need to do something about that. No, the problem is the insults, the mindlessness and the hate. Either side of any issue isn’t lacking for closed minded individuals filled with self-righteousness. Thing is, the rest of us are letting them define too many conversations these days. But we all know this…, right?
When it comes to Facebook and paddling it’s no surprise that coaches, students, expedition paddlers, manufactures, bloggers and shops are all connecting. It’s good stuff. However, it gets a bit sketchy, especially for paddlers using their personal pages to connect in their paddling world. Most people are just “Facebooking” and their lives are amazingly diverse. Their posts revolve around much more than simply paddling. Sure, some of us seem to define our lives by the hull of kayak, but others get on Facebook to preach to the converted, share pictures of their dog, shout about causes, sell products, play games, rage against the machine, insult the libs and on and on it goes. What’s more, very few of us actually sort our content by political or social groups. We simply blast out everything to everybody, never considering or caring that anyone would be offended or insulted when we start shooting our mouths off about how stupid people we don’t agree with are.
This brings me back to the de-friending click I made this morning. Imagine a student who found a favorite paddling coach on Facebook and asked to follow them. You know how special that connection with the first person who really opened your eyes to paddling can be. Now imagine that one day, this coach suddenly starts slamming that students personal values or throws them into a cleche group and basically tells them how stupid and worthless their core beliefs are. Of course the snarky poster probably doesn’t even realize they are doing it. What if they make a habit of spewing their daily rant against the right or the left? Would you invite them to teach at your symposium? Hire them to work at your shop or sponsor their next trip?
The thing about paddling and social media is that unless we make real efforts to seperate the two.. they are one.
Something to think about…