Self Reflection: These Are Political Times
One week ago I was posting frequently on the federated timeline, replying to political posts that I don’t agree with. Every day I saw more and more posts that got under my skin. Eventually, I realized I had transformed into someone I didn’t recognize, a intolerant and hateful Mastodonian of opposing views. This is not something I wanted to be, I wanted to keep a somewhat open-mind, but, to focus mainly on the topic of the instance I chose to call home, Fosstodon.
I am part of the problem! I too was becoming very much tired of seeing my beliefs, traditions, and rights being attacked by people I do not agree with. So, I posted, I posted and replied like my life depended on it. I immersed myself into this toxic political abyss of hatred, name calling, and immaturity. I too, am part of the problem, turning Mastodon into a real Twitter like clone, not excluding Twitter’s faults; It’s abrasive and unrelenting community. But, I too, can be part of the solution.
Technology, that is the common grounds I share with all Fosstodonians. A topic I still consider largely unbiased and unpolitical. But as the media portrays things heating up in the physical world around us, I urge all of us to remember our common grounds. We, as educated and respectable individuals should reinforce our implied rules of the fediverse. One simple rule is to CW our political posts. Another is to setup our filters, filtering posts based on words we believe to be associated to toxic political matters. Another would be to utilize our blogs, since many of us have our personal blogs we should use them as the outlet for our frustrations and messages we wish to share with the world. As always, feel free to link said blogs.
I’m not calling for censorship on the Fediverse or to rid the Fediverse of political matters, it is after all, social media. I’m simply asking for us to remember why we joined our instance, and to be mindful of ourselves and what we let seep into our replies. These two simple ideas can help clean up our Home and federated timeline, thus exposing us only to the things we honestly care to see. This is not an evil or bad, it is an attempt to relieve ourselves of the stresses of the world, even for a little bit.
I will never ask someone to not stand up for what they believe in. There are times to stand up and fight, to speak out, and to take action; as there are places and times to do those things as well. I am in no way suggesting that political posts be abandoned or censored on Mastodon, but, to keep in mind our fellow mastodon participants. We all come from different countries, different cultures thus we weigh political topics differently. As someone that falls into the category of evil according to social media, I do not support nor believe in the ideas as seemingly the majority on mastodon. Though I never want to treat someone worse than I would treat a stray dog. Recalling philosopher Martin Buber ideas on interpersonal communication, there are three levels of communication that affect our relationships; I-it, I-you, I-thou. Many of us will never invest the time or emotions to developing an I-thou relationship with our fellow mastodon users and we shouldn’t. But many of us as of late treat each other as I-it. While that is not entirely terrible, there are consequences to this. I-it refers to people you see more as objects, such as a cashier in a drive-through at McDonald’s. Therefor we don’t invest much thought into the way we speak to the ones that fall into our I-it relationships. We sometimes see those avatars as objects supporting ideals differing from ours. I suggest we start trying to see those avatars as extensions of the people they represent, the I-you. Acknowledging these avatars as as extensions of people allows us to recognize them as human.
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