Social Media: A Year Round Thanksgiving Dinner Experience

Social Media: A Year Round Thanksgiving Dinner Experience image Simpson Thanksgiving DinnerSocial Media: A Year Round Thanksgiving Dinner Experience

Let’s face it; no big family gathering is without its awkwardness; whether it be a wedding, graduation, funeral or a major holiday.  However, Thanksgiving Day seems to have become the most awkward of all. Family and friends coming together to share a meal and give thanks usually turns into overheated debates over religion, politics and the social issues of the day.

Social media sites such as Facebook, Google Plus and Twitter have made this awkwardness a daily occurrence without the threat of having a turkey leg thrown at you.

When confronted at the dinner table with differences of opinion, we have several options:

  • Pick up our plates and move to the “kiddie” table;
  • Avoid any and all confrontation by simply constructing a mashed potato architectural masterpiece on your plate.
  • Join in the debate knowing full well that all will be forgiven once the apple and pumpkin pies are served;

When confronted on Social Media with these same differences of opinion, our reaction and options are basically the same.

  • There are many on social media solely for the online games and cat memes. They scroll through their news feeds without commenting just to have a sense of being up to date on their connections’ lives.  However, inevitably they simple end up spending their online time saving a barnyard animal or matching up pieces of candy.  This is essentially their way of moving to the “kiddie” table.
  • Both Facebook, Twitter and Google Plus give us the option of not only sorting our connections into Lists and Circles; but we can select what type of updates we want to see on our feeds and share on others’ feeds. This is comparable to constructing a mashed potato wonder. We will comment and share the posts that we know will not spark a firestorm of controversy. We play it save through total avoidance of potentially unpleasant online confrontations.  Though being more social online than the “kiddie” table users, we envelop ourselves in a protective cloak.
  • Then, there are those that will comment on each and every post they come across whether their opinions are in sync with the original poster or not. They are confident in both their own opinion and in the strength of the personal bonds they have with their friends and family.  Any online heated debate; no matter how nasty it may become, is overshadowed by this bond. There is a true respect for each other’s opinion.  In the rare instances when comments become too hot to handle, making the conscious effort not to stoke the flames and allowing your connection to have the last word is comparable knowing that all will be right in the world once the pies are served.

There are some days when we find ourselves reacting in all three ways.  How do you handle confrontation and differences of opinion on social media?

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