It’s time to organize your feeds

The second week of November 2016 is the apex of some yet unknown historic shift. We all know it’s big and we’re living it. In hindsight I was mistaken about some things and I see other things coming to fruition via a nod to historical movements. It’s history book time now and that’s unsettling. 50% is the number for me. 50% voted one way. 50% the other way. And 50% didn’t vote at all.

An old friend of mine posted this on Facebook the day after Tuesday-

The world begins with each of us, and spreads out from there, from our presence and our actions- there really is no more important person; you are the center of the world- your life, your obligation. Word to those who take this opportunity to further actualize the world they want to be.

It’s time we self actualize. Taking these words to heart I vow to make myself and the world a better place. In this (r)evolution dialogue is the nervous system.

We must learn to talk and listen to one another

In day to day to life there’s a 50% chance the person you’re talking to voted the other way you did. We all feel the stakes are so high, so crucial, and there’s tension creeping in. It’s interesting to see real world conversations being had because you know… you’re not supposed to talk religion or politics. I see it at work and even my own family. As a society we need to learn the art of dialogue and discussion. Like all things it starts with you.

Lesson number 1 is tact. Many point to the influence of news media in this election but Facebook is a deeply profound influence. The two of these together are a toxic mix – no holds barred bickering/arguing pundits on TV and audiences quickly interacting on Facebook in real time.  I’ve heard many talk about deleting their account to avoid the noise or pointing how Facebook breeds dissension and an inevitable decision to unfriend someone. I’ll admit it- I’ve been there. I thought about taking a Facebook leave of absence, deleting altogether, and have had the click ready to unfriend.

Just as most of us have learned tact in business and social settings we need to learn and carry this on Facebook.

It’s a powerful platform and requires couth. Most of us move too fast with it. We post and friend one another without thinking. Posts that get interaction via comments, likes, and shares come to the top of the feed and thus the spiral into heated conversation. This can be great for democracy but too often we see it turn personal and aggressive. Imagine if you started blurting out political views at your company’s water cooler at 10am. Not tactful. Not couth. Most of us don’t operate this way because we’d probably be out of a job. However, most of us will take a quick glance at our phones at the water cooler and can potentially see a co-workers political Facebook rant. This isn’t dialogue. Just as you know your audience at work or in a social setting know your audience online. Facebook has powerful tools namely the ability to-

Determine your audience.

If you’re going to post something political, religious, spiritual, controversial, or provocative ask yourself, “would I blurt this out to the world or would I just say to my close friends?Facebook has a Close Friends setting. USE IT! Categorize your friends into the buckets you normally do in conversation. Here is the link that teaches you how to manage your friends.

This is not to advocate some type of self censorship. Quite the contrary. Yes, there are some who will post indiscriminately and prefer it that way but there are many who don’t say anything, won’t speak freely, because they’re too worried about being “that guy.” Don’t be that guy. If anything have a “Close Friends setting” of three friends. See what happens.

And when it comes to unfriending I suggest not to. Good dialogue is hearing the other side. In this election I have maintained a healthy friendship and understanding from those I don’t agree with. Some are “that guy” but it’s critical to know what others feel in our democracy. Again…. 50%. If it gets out of hand and a friend is repetitively obnoxious just hide their banter from your feed. Here is the link that shows you how to silence instead of unfriend.

Tact, Grace, Couth. And finally – organize.

Everything written here are the views of Tim Aten and Tim Aten only. They have no relation, nor are they the views of any of my employers past or present.


  1. Great advice, Tim. I’m proud to share your name.

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