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Thursday, November 01, 2012

Why Facebook is the Best Place for Conversations

With just days until the election, many people are disavowing Facebook as a worthless sink of political fighting that's not worth the time. So many people are espousing politically intransigent views that belittle others that it can seem like Facebook is a wasteland. The volume is so high on the noise that the signal of real conversation is nearly lost.

It seems that Facebook is a terrible place for conversations. My opinion is that Facebook is the best place. Here's why.

Facebook offers a range of thoughts and opinions that are not available in most other formats. The ability to bring together disparate viewpoints in person is difficult on a regular basis, but friend groups online can span the spectrum of political and religious thought.

Facebook gives you a the time to share your thoughts at your pace. When conversing in person, it's easy to let the speed of the dialog short-circuit the thought process. You want to get out your next point, they want to get out their next point and you keep speeding each other up until the actual conversation degrades into the basic issues. But online there's the time to slow down and consider what each person is saying (and delete rash comments before they're sent into the fray).

Facebook lets others see your conversation and benefit from it. There are many people who don't comment on Facebook, but instead read what other people are up to. I've had numerous people tell me, in person, that my online conversations have been encouraging to them. They don't comment, but they read what's said. Your thoughtful, engaging dialog can show more people that it's possible to have civil conversations in this divided time.

What do you think? Is Facebook a good place for deep conversations?

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