Friday Follies: Arguing Perceptions

I love social media as much as I hate social media. Talk about a love/hate relationship. How could you not love keeping up with old friends from distant lands and ages past? Yes, it was fun decades ago to wait for the frequent or infrequent mail from someone you hadn’t seen in years and read about or see the changes in their lives.

It was also saddening to not hear from someone in a long time and wonder if they may have gone on to whatever awaits us after that last breath is taken. It was, even more saddening in some ways when you found out your worst fears had been realized.

It is especially saddening when you hear the bad news and know you allowed yourself to get so busy with the here, and now you forgot yesterday and tomorrow. I have encountered that reality more times than I care to acknowledge, even to myself.

That is why several dialogues I encountered today while researching a thought led me to share this piece. In one case, a person posted a comment concerning the changes in architectural standards for private homes over the last few decades. Another, who appeared to be more of a troll than a well-meaning participant of the group, commented in a contentious way, triggering multiple antagonistic exchanges.

Image by Phil Riley from Pixabay 

The same sort of exchange occurred in another venue. Sadly, one of the first respondents was someone who perceived the poster as attacking him. It did not matter that they did not know each other, and others did not see the situation that way. Still, the aggrieved party maintained the comments were offensive and inappropriate.

The problem is this. Our biases and responses to what we see as others’ biases are perceptual much of the time. They are based on how we were raised, how life influenced or damaged us, and how we perceive the situation.

Today’s common trope concerning bias and perception asks others not to judge someone unless they’ve walked in their shoes. The original version of this seems to include the condition phrase “walked a mile in my shoes.” Whichever one prefers, the admonition falls far short of reality.

A mile or a hundred miles is not enough time to understand someone. Neither is the idea of living the life another led for years. Each person learns differently, understands differently, and will feel differently, even if all have experienced the same situations, challenges, associations, etc.

So, what is my point here? I have two major issues, but I’ll only wind up with one now. The other may come later, but this is enough for now.

Social media is a gift and a curse, like music, writing talent, physical ability, and mental acuity. In some cases, they are great; in others, they will beat you to the ground.

Below are links to two pieces I wrote about one aspect of dealing with social media some years ago. Like this piece, they are wordy, but little understanding comes from short, pithy sayings, writings, memes, or chats. Understanding perceptions, biases, and how to deal with problems they cause you or you cause others has no six-word solution.

So Far As It Depends On You – Part 1

So Far As It Depends On You – Part 2

© 2023

About S. Eric Jackson

See "About."
This entry was posted in Civility, communication, Daily Life, Uncategorized, Writing and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply