We need a better filter
Aug. 17, 2015
by Ivan Raconteur

I have what you might call a love-hate relationship with social media.

There is no denying monitoring social media has become part of my daily routine.

I like the fact that I can keep in touch with friends and acquaintances.

I’m not so happy with the platform, or the fact that the wizards hiding behind the curtain in Facebook land seem to spend most of their waking hours thinking up ways to make it more irritating and less convenient.

For example, I can think of no reason, other than the fact they are trying to provoke me, that I should have to change the setting on my news feed every time I log in to view the most recent stories.

The evil geniuses at Facebook then change it back, so I see what they consider the top stories, so I have to change it back again the next time I log in.

Another challenge with social media is the content of some of the posts.

Now, before everyone gets their drawers in a bunch and starts unfriending me, I want to make it perfectly clear that I’m on your side.

I believe in freedom of speech, and I think you should be able to post whatever you want on Facebook.

The distinction here is that while I defend your right to post things, I don’t necessarily want to see all of them.

For example, I love vacation photos. I don’t get to travel as much as I would like, so it is fun for me to see where people go on their time off, and what they do.

Seeing these posts is like a little mini-vacation in my day.

Also, I never get tired of photos of people out sharing refreshing adult beverages with their friends.

Seeing people laughing and smiling makes me think of good times, and that makes me happy.

I like hearing about my friends’ successes, and things that are going well for them.

I like seeing photos of my friends going about their daily activities.

On the other hand, there are things that I definitely don’t want to see.

Spiders, for example.

Those things give me the heebie-jeebies, and the image of a giant spider appearing unexpectedly on my screen is extremely disquieting.

I don’t know why people feel compelled to post photos of spiders, but that is their business. I just want a filter to block these images from my news feed.

Another thing I could do without is photos of people’s medical misfortunes.

I can do without the sight of gaping wounds, jagged scars, or other unsavory scenes.

I can empathize with my friends when they are unwell without having to see the photographic evidence.

Blood and gore does not make me care more, it just makes me queasy.

A filter to block these images would be welcome.

I’m not a big fan of dead animals, either. Dead things in general give me the willies, and I’d rather not look at them.

I’d also be happier if people would keep their mawkish, cloying love letters to themselves. Some things are better kept between two people. If people insist on posting these sweet sentiments publicly, a filter would be welcome.

I’m already getting weary from all the propaganda being spewed in every direction in the run up to the 2016 election.

This reminds me I would like a filter that blocks out any post that makes reference to any political party, candidate, or elected official.

Sure, I believe in freedom of speech, but political posts that have any value are few and far-between on social media.

The kind of garbage that is posted on social media is not intended to inform or educate, and it is hardly likely to change anyone’s mind. When it comes to politics, social media is just a forum for disparaging anyone who has beliefs that are different from those of the person creating or sharing the post.

People can sit and sling mud at one another all day if they want to, but I don’t want to watch it.

Facebook changes things every time I figure them out, so if there is a way to block the things I’ve mentioned, I’m not aware of it.

I’ve had some success blocking those idiotic game requests that my “friends” keep sending me, but it seems like as quickly as I get rid of them, more appear, or they change they rules so I have to find new ways to block these requests.

I have read that there are browser extensions that one can install that can be used to block certain kinds of content or key words, but I don’t want to spend all my time trying outmaneuver unwanted posts by messing with yet another computer program.

I suppose I could unplug and avoid social media completely, but that would mean giving up the parts I actually enjoy.

The benefit and the curse of public communication is that we are exposed to the good, the bad, and the ugly, all at the same time.

When it comes to social media, it sure would be nice if we could filter out some of the bad and ugly, and focus on the good.

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