September 16, 2020

When My Outrage is More Important Than Yours

seagulls

Theories, especially political theories, are a dime-a-dozen and probably not worth much more than that. With that said, I've got a very brief one to share. I suppose it doesn't really deserve to be called a theory, so I'll refer to it as a hunch. Here's my hunch:

When you see people on social media complaining about how sick they are of Trump-related news and opinions, I suspect that they are leaving something out. I think they are tired of hearing Trump-related news and opinions shared by others and not necessarily the stuff they continue to share.
I am not holding this up as an example of hypocrisy. If it is one, it seems like a sufficiently trivial one that I'm happy to hand out free passes to those who do it.

But if it is so trivial, why do I mention it at all? It makes me curious about the broader issue of outrage on social media. We seem to prioritize our own outrage over everyone else's, viewing it as more legitimate and more worthy of others' time. And so, when I am outraged over Trump's latest comments or actions, it is a big enough deal that I need to make others aware of it even though I have grown tired of others doing the same.

This brief post was inspired by an interaction I had on Twitter a few weeks ago in which a complete stranger contacted me out-of-the-blue to tell me they were unfollowing me because they weren't interested any political content. Since I did not recall ever interacting with this person, I briefly checked out their timeline to make sure I wasn't forgetting a valued contact. What did I see? You guessed it - a whole lot of political content.

Basing a theory - I mean a hunch - one one such interaction is ill-advised, but I can't help thinking that I might be on to something here. Do we continue to disseminate content we are sick of seeing from others?