I was shooting pool the other night with some friends and one of them said, “You were a Romney supporter right?”
I looked at him and said, “No. No I wasn’t.”
He looked shocked. Then he paused for about three seconds, shook his head and said, “Well I’m going to tell you anyway.”
He then called me a, “Socialist,” and began describing a rant that he posted on Facebook.
We began to argue some of his points and I told him that, “I’m going to end this conversation now because we will never agree on any of this. And oh, by the way, I’ve known you a little over a year and you’ve been on unemployment the whole time. So call it what you want, but you’re part of this ‘Socialist Problem.’”
He then switched gears on me and said, “We can talk about that part later. Here’s the point of all this. At the end of my post about Obama, I said that, ‘I won’t be surprised if someone takes him out.’”
“You totally can’t say that,” I said.
“It gets better,” he said.
“Who came to visit you?” I said half-jokingly.
“The Secret Service,” he said.
“See I told you,” I immediately blurted out. I then corrected myself and said, “Sorry. I didn’t tell you, but I did tell someone else. You can’t say shit like that on Facebook. People are watching you.”
My buddy then went onto say how, “I didn’t say I was going to do it and I have First Amendment rights,” and blah, blah, blah…
So I said, “Listen, I’m here at the bar at 1:00 in the morning on a work night, but I’m not going to put it on Facebook and do you know why? Because I have 20 people who I’m friends with from work who will see that. So if I don’t want my work friends to know what I’m doing, then I sure as shit am not going to let the government know what I’m doing, especially when I know that they are 100% guaranteed watching me.”
“Well, I’m going to do it more now,” he said.
“You’re an idiot,” I said.
There’s not much more to say after that. Folks, if you’re going to live your life on-line, expect people to read it, including people you don’t want to. That includes employers, grandmas and potentially the government.
Now, in full disclosure, I said to my friend, “I can’t believe they flagged you after one post.”
He said, “Oh no. I’ve been saying this stuff since he got elected.”
“Oh, ok. So just a few weeks then,” I said.
“No, since he got elected the first time over four years ago.”
I’m not saying every move is being monitored, but if you scream something for long enough, eventually people are going to take you seriously, including the government.
So I then I posted on Facebook, “If you threaten to kill the President, the men in black will visit you.” I had three people comment almost immediately and I realized I better take this post down quick.
I erased the post and then another friend immediately emailed me and said, “Call me crazy, but I kind of want that visit. I may regret it, but in these times, I feel it would be an amazing revolutionary act.
I responded with the following email back to him:
“Personally I don’t see threatening or a visit from the government as a revolutionary act.
I think you’d better serve your cause by putting out well thought out information that may help change the mind of someone, who then goes on to help others make a change as well. Not so much a guru, but more as a thought leader.
Have you ever thought of setting up a blog? I use WordPress. It’s pretty easy to set up. I have a few blogs on different topics, but my main one is at www.douglasthomaswallace.com. About 2500 people read it a month. (Not that that’s huge numbers, but its a start.)
You can write articles, share other people’s articles, throw up links and videos from YouTube, then link it on your FB page. You can get way more like minded people involved in intelligent conversation than you can on FB. Mainly because on FB more than half of your friends don’t agree with what you say, most are not informed, but more importantly, they are on FB to stay connected and be entertained, not to be, “preached to,” regardless of the message, therefore making it an ineffective tool for your message because in the long run, they start ignoring you.
Another thing about being on the government’s list. Once you’re on it, you’re on it for three years, which means you’re monitored for that long. Every time you go to the airport you will be flagged. I’m sure you could handle it, but doing something (joining or forming a group, attending or organizing a protest, disseminating information, these things seem more revolutionary to me. In my opinion, being part of the solution is how things will change…and you might not ever know the person who’s mind you influenced who then goes on to make a huge difference.
Ghandi’s non-violence philosophy directly influenced Martin Luther King’s philosophy and in both their cases brought down several hundreds of years of oppression.
I’m not telling you what to do, its just all food for thought.”
The bottom line, your friends don’t want to read your rants on Facebook. Keep it up and you will either be blocked, un-friended, or worse, you may be visited by the men in black.