Sunday, August 9, 2015

Facebook factory of opinionated users

Browsing through Facebook, I noticed how quickly people voice out their beliefs on different topics, may it be personal, political, or religious. With one click of a button, their opinions are made known to the online world, some have even gone viral. It is a great venue for validation since your beliefs will be reached by thousands of your friends, may be millions if shared. Now, one does not need to setup a press conference or a meeting covered by media just to broadcast his or her thoughts (though using these will still help you reach a wider audience). A Facebook account, or any social media for that matter, is all you need.

It is amazing how Facebook has changed people. Called out in a classroom discussion to provide a take on a particular discourse, most of people would probably grunge, smile, then provide a half-hearted answer. Majority in the classroom would have been silent. But in Facebook, you will hear this and that. A viral topic would get someone's attention and opinion, may it be negative or positive. People would be too quick to judge these topics and provide their reaction with little thought put on it.

I'm happy that people are slowly coming out of their shell. Voiced opinions mean people are finally taking a step forward towards fighting for what needs to be fought for. Raised beliefs mean the mass can participate in intelligent discussions, where beliefs are challenged, the right will prevail based on truths and facts and the wrong will be corrected. It's an ideal setup. Yea, ideal.

You see, what bothers me is actually seeing the side people are on. I'm not saying that my side is right but whenever I question their assumptions and even their institutionalized teachings, they get defensive without even giving a proper rebuttal. They resort to ad hominem and I can't stand the mistakes in their argument. I'm not saying I'm perfect, I may have resorted to it as well due to frustration, but I wanted answer. At least some of it. I wanted to learn their side. I wanted to understand, but instead a rift is caused between me and them.

Until I realize I may be on the lesser popular side of the fence.

It pains me to see that some people are evidently providing answers that may be fatal given the misinformation the answer is based on. Aside from being quick to dish out answers, some, if not most, absorb information without doubting the authenticity of the information itself. Was the source credible? Once this misinformation is processed incorrectly, it's as if their beliefs are already set on stone, unyielding, feet on the ground stubborn. I find it funny how the process of absorption of information quickly stops. No process of verification. No process of validation. Zilch. Maybe because people are afraid to be wrong and once information is processed, it becomes their personal truth.

People will always be divided on important arguments. It's a given. But with a proper discourse on such issues, people have the chance to unite and move forward. I do not have the answers on why people continue to be misinformed, nor how people reject evidence-based information but I can still imagine a world where people can finally arrive to a correct conclusion with full understanding and acceptance.

But for now, only for now as we are still moving towards that ideal world where arguments arrive to bright and widely accepted conclusion based on hard-hitting facts, the questions that need to be answered remain:

How much do you know about your position? How further are you willing to go? More importantly, which side of the fence are you on?

Because the popular side of the fence isn't necessarily the right side of the argument.