We are well into the election season and I cannot wait until it is over. As annoying as it is to watch and listen to the mud-slinging, negative campaigning and all the accusations of the other candidates lying (even if it's true), it is even worse to listen to it amongst the people I know.
I know where I stand politically and I am not shy about it, but I don't throw it at other people. It doesn't bother me that some people want to wear their political affiliations on their sleeve. It's their right to discuss politics and policy as often or rarely as they want. However, it is amazing how many people cannot discuss these issues without getting angry and insulting toward someone who does not share their views. I love a good debate and would be more than happy to debate my beliefs with anyone, but I don't want to get into an argument. Not many people can friendly disagree.
It is no secret that I love Facebook. In fact, I am pretty sure that a very large number of people do. However, for the last two months or so, it has not been fun to be on Facebook or Twitter. The political posts are making me want to gouge my neighbor's eyes out. It's nothing against him, but I'm not going to gouge out my own eyes. It is not people's opinions that bother me. I can handle and even welcome opposing views. It is the nastiness I am seeing happen on people's walls. People that I know to be friends are saying the most horrible things to each other just because they stand on opposite sides of an issue or support a candidate the other does not care for.
There are many issues that I am very passionate about and still others that I firmly believe involve a moral right or wrong and am disgusted that we even have to discuss their legality, however none of these issues are worth losing friends over. In most cases, I keep my mouth shut. It is very rare that you can sway a person to your side anyway. Many of the people that are hard to take on Facebook and Twitter right now are people that I enjoy interacting with the rest of the year, so I don't want to unfriend them. I wouldn't even mind talking to them if they could be nice, but it doesn't seem to be the case for now.
I have taken some measures to help make the next month more tolerable. Due to the nature of my job, I don't physically encounter many people during the week, so my social interactions are on Facebook, which is where the bulk of my irritation lies. Last week I found a way to get around it and thought I would share it with you.
Social Fixer. Some have dubbed it the "Better Facebook." This app is not made for political purposes, but can be used for them. Social Fixer has many, many, many ways it improves your Facebook experience, but my favorite one is the blocking of statuses containing keywords you define.
If you install this app, you can set it up to block the words Romney, Obama, Democrat, Republican, election, health care, town hall, etc. Your Facebook will look exactly the same, but a post containing any of those words will not show up in your feed. It makes your internet time much more tolerable if the political rants are starting to make your blood boil.
When the election season is over, you can continue to use it for the political nasty backlash that inevitably will happen after the election or set the blocked words to be anything else you don't want to see. You can block out a hated sports team, stop news about the latest cause bandwagon everyone has jumped on, or avoid posts concerning anything else you may be sick of hearing about.
Another tool that does the same thing is Facebook Purity. This one specifically blocks certain updates, but doesn't have all the extra features of Social Fixer. There are similar apps for Twitter as well. Try Declutter or Proxlet. For mobile user of Twitter the TweetDeck app can do the same thing. Click Settings > Global Filter and define whatever restrictions you prefer.
This was not the direction I intended to go when I started this post. I just wanted to express my disgust for the people who forget common decency when discussing politics and did not know I would be plugging social filter products, but I am happy to provide this service for the people who might like to take advantage of it.
This is not paid advertisement. WOW! I've never had to say that before.