Digital Lurking

My social media feeds are eclectic by intent.

I follow the President and Bernie Sanders. I read posts from fascists and anti-fascists. I visit at times white nationalist message boards. I’ve read what anarchists want to achieve. I’ve made an effort to try and understand what it means to be young, poor and African-American in certain cities (a great book on that here).

Some of the alt-right posts make me uncomfortable, and others make me want to rise up out of my chair and yell. But, I find those posts to be particularly valuable.

I’ve written in the past about digital echo chambers. I don’t want to be in one.

To that end, here is a valuable TED Talk from someone who became a digital lurker at alt-right sites. It is worth the time, as the speaker is both witty and insightful.

I’m very much against nearly all of the President’s policies. When I fly fish, though, I sometimes chat with people who are very pro-Trump. Honestly, some of those discussions are uncomfortable (example here), but I emerge thinking that the interactions are valuable.

The chats with idealogues are pretty draining. These are people who do not want to respond to facts and are interested in a one-way delivery of their POV to others. A friend calls that “willful ignorance.” But, sometimes, you meet someone with intellectual curiosity and is willing to have a real discussion.

Those are the most valuable conversations, and I wish there could be more of them.

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