By Liz Hitchcock
In these times of technological progression and the social networking explosion, friends become enemies and vice versa easily. Without body language, intonation of voice or the ability to quickly speak your mind, relationships are built and just as effortlessly destroyed.
While browsing the infinite world of Facebook last night, I ran into a post from a “friend” of mine regarding the band The White Stripes and their break-up that was reported on almost every major news publication.
The link was to an article posted online by CNN that this friend titled “Very sad day. They will be missed.” Like any Internet post, the writer or person linking should expect varied responses.
Scrolling down the page, I saw comments that expressed sadness, bewilderment and even some reminiscing of the times these users were not able to see The White Stripes play.
As I progressed down the list of now around 10 comments, I came across a few that I personally found amusing. The controversy began with this: “Good they were a waste of talent.” This provoked a barrage of comments defending the band and attempts to show this one person that their opinion isn’t correct, nor should it be expressed in any way.
The comment below that, stood out the most to me, was a comment from the original posted thread user. He boldly stated this, “The White Stripes are one of the most influential rock bands of ALL TIME. Their legacy will live on as long as rock itself does.”
Not only was this an opinion, but it was an opinion backed with no facts, no statistics and this user certainly did not take a poll on the matter.
After being dragged into the debate through a comment posted by my actual friend (in real life) that mentions that I enjoyed a chuckle at the expense of that user, I decided that it was time to step in and clear the air.
I was met with bullets flying. Not only did I discover that my opinion (that the words “most” and “all time” weren’t necessarily reality or applicable to The White Stripes) was considered incorrect, but I uncovered my extreme distaste for some of my Facebook friends.
Later on that night, after posting a few comments trying my hardest to explain why exactly people’s opinions should be expressed, whatever they may be, and defending myself against multiple people calling me an elitist, I came to the conclusion that not only are these people not my real friends, but apparently my opposing views, over time, facilitated latent anger within these certain people.
This fellow who had initially posted his link, claiming a band that came out in the late ’90s had somehow influenced all contemporary rock bands, later explained to me that he has never posted anything on Facebook to get a response from people, and that no one ever does.
Aside from using the words “never” and “ever” excessively, his sheer brazenness showed me that his opinions were formed upon uneducated and ill-informed standards. His unwillingness to be swayed in any direction other than that which he had already decided led me to believe that he not only refused to read what I had explained to him, but he didn’t understand my responses either.
After nonchalantly unfriending this person from my friends list and saying my piece in his private message inbox, I received yet a few additional vulgar messages from this persons friend.
So, my question is, when exactly does a friendly Facebook debate turn to all-out war? This brings me to the cliché: If you can’t handle the heat, get out of the kitchen.
The fact of the matter is, if you decide to enter into a multi-user media forum, such as Facebook, Twitter, 4chan, YouTube or even a blog, and wish to express your opinion, get ready for fire to come your way.
Many people still remember cases like Jessi Slaughter, where a teenage girl was emotionally trampled by YouTube user comments.
If you have some sort of difficulty with dealing with negative opinions, I would suggest for you to refrain from posting things that may incite controversy, or better yet, simply just stay off the Internet entirely.