Sharing Content on Social Media Does Not Necessarily Indicate Agreement

social media sharing

I have a confession to make, and it is not an easy one. Better to get it out and not beat around the bush. I sometimes share links to content with which I disagree on social media. There, I said it. What a relief to have that one off my chest!

Why would I share a link to an article someone else wrote when I disagree with a significant portion of it? I do so when I find the content interesting or thought-provoking. Content with which I disagree often ends up being more thought-provoking than content that reflects my views. I often assume, perhaps mistakenly, that other people do something similar.

The most common reaction I receive when I share such content is outrage. "What the hell's the matter with you?" "What were you thinking?" "That was crap!" I don't think anything is the matter with me. I'm a freethinker who is trying not remaining in an ideological bubble. What I was thinking when I shared the content was that I found it interesting and/or thought-provoking. I expected others might too. And yes, maybe some was crap. But if it was crap that made me think more deeply or in a new way, that might not be so bad.

Many of the outraged assume I wrote the content myself. It is as if they have no idea how social media works. People often share links to content they did not author. Another possibility is that they have no idea I didn't write it because they are reacting to the title without reading the content. I suspect that is the case much of the time.

We seem to have entered an age where many respond reflexively to any content that does not reflect their views with anger. This as an unfortunate form of close-mindedness. It fuels polarization and hinders both personal growth and societal progress. It is essential that we expose ourselves to new ideas, including those with which we might disagree. I worry about the health of a culture where this has become as uncommon as it seems to be.

When I find something someone has written that made me think, I am inclined to share it. I may agree with much of it, though I rarely agree with all of it. Sometimes, I haven't yet decided what I think of it. And there are times when I disagree with most of it but still found it worth reading. Just because I might disagree with something doesn't mean it is wrong or that the author is flawed.

I have no problem with those who only share content that reflects their views. That is their choice. I'd find that too limiting, so I'm not going to constrain myself in that way.