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Bill Muehlenberg's commentary on issues of the day...

On Social Media Etiquette – And Some Personal Pet Peeves

May 1, 2019

Hmm, am I allowed to be a bit bothered by some things now and then? Am I allowed to write a whole article about these matters? Am I allowed to go on a little rant once in a while? Of course some folks might think this entire site is one long rant! Well, it is my website so I guess I can rant if I want to. Or as Lesley Gore sang in 1963, “It’s my party and I’ll cry if I want to”!

But some things are a cause of concern to me, and they are not just minor personal matters, but actually impact on bigger things such as the culture wars, the social media, and even federal elections. So if you want to know about a few of these concerns that I have, read on.

One. My first four points are all related, and all have to do with the social media. And three of them are related to getting friend requests. As can maybe be imagined, I get friend requests all the time on the social media. And I always have to check each one out a bit first before I accept any of them.

Because of what I do, I have far too many enemies and too many folks who want to do anything they can to silence me (see more on this below in Point Four), so I need to be rather cautious and discerning here. Part of how I deal with the many trolls and enemies out there is to have my settings set to ‘private’ rather than ‘public’.

If that helps to weed out some of my many haters and opponents, then it is worth doing, even though my posts may not get as wide a circulation. Related to this, I always get asked about why some of my posts cannot be shared. And I always answer in the same way:

I do not know how FB actually works – does anyone? And sometimes FB makes various changes so that what was once shareable no longer is. I have made no changes over the years. Sometimes some folks can easily share my stuff, sometimes not.

As I say, I am not going the route of having public settings. So if you cannot share a post of mine, there are still other options. A main one is to simply copy and paste. It may take a few more steps or a few more seconds, but it is really not a big deal.

And if this is still too high tech for some, you can always ask your kids or grandkids or great grandkids – they all know how to do such things! And there are other ways to share my articles, including simply clicking on the FB share button underneath each of my CultureWatch articles.

Two. Related to this is another small pet peeve of mine. And thankfully this concerns something that happens sporadically as opposed to constantly. I can always tell when we are getting close to an election: I will get a big jump in the number of friend requests.

It of course makes perfect sense for any candidate to want to have as many friends as possible. After all, more friends means more votes – at least potentially. But I notice a very common pattern here: while these folks were so keen to be my friends before the election, afterwards it is another story. Almost invariably they lose the election, and then I never hear a peep out of them.

Um, I, like most people, do not like being treated simply as a means to an end – especially someone else’s end! I do not like being used in this way. If these folks really wanted to be my friend, why didn’t they ask me long ago, and not just when they want to win an election!

Three. As mentioned, I look briefly at each friend request I get to weed out fake friends, scams, and other problematic things. On any given day there are likely countless fake friend request scammers going around. We really need to use our brains here.

We need a bit of caution and common sense. Often a lot of sleazy sexualised scam requests will come in. As I delete them, I notice the number of guys with Muslim names who have befriended these gals! And sadly I sometimes see some mutual FB friends who have done the same. That should not be, especially if you are a Christian, no matter how lonely and single you might be!

Four. This concern in part is due to the way things like Facebook prevent the great majority of your friends from seeing your posts. But still, it always amazes me somewhat how most of my 87 kazillion FB friends will never even realise that I am in FB prison again!

Hmm, how can it NOT be noticed that one moment I am posting a dozen things a day, and the next there is complete silence – and for an entire month!? I would have thought that most folks could put two and two together here, and realise I am in the slammer again, and cannot answer them or interact with them.

Yet I keep getting so many folks sending me private messages and the like on FB, asking me things, etc. Um, when you are in the FB slammer you really can’t do anything! I cannot reply to your messages and so on, so you will need to contact me in some other way.

Five. Another rather annoying thing that happens often, but especially around election time, is when someone contacts me, asking that I remove or alter comments that they have posted on my website – even many years ago. When this happens, I usually reply to them along these lines:

I get similar requests from time to time. I can alter or remove comments if need be, but I am not too thrilled with this for several reasons. First of all, it is actually quite a time-consuming job. And I don’t have heaps of free time. Nor do I have any secretarial help. To change or delete a comment means I need to manually go through 69,000 approved comments to track them down and then deal with them.

Another problem is if people have replied to that comment in a thread of comments. If so, then I need to track down their comments as well and alter or pull them. It all can get to be a rather complex and time-consuming job – one I prefer not to waste time on.

My second main concern is this: why the request? There may be some more or less legitimate reasons, such as a person applying for a rather sensitive job position, and they may fear that some old comments – if unearthed – might work against their chances of getting the position.

Or maybe someone is seeking to become Prime Minister and wants any possibly damaging comments removed. There might be something to this. And I actually do often get would-be politicians contacting me about this very thing. Just recently I have had more such cases of this.

Sometimes they are fearful about older public remarks, and sometimes their political head-honchos are urging them to delete all such past public content. I tell them that I understand such concerns, but I wonder if these folks are being overly paranoid or fearful.

The truth is no matter how much sanitisation and self-censorship a Christian and/or conservative undergoes in order to present a better public image, the left and the leftist media will still always reject them. They will always go after such folks. Nothing we do will ever satisfy them.

I recently had one guy who wanted me to delete some quite innocuous comments he had made about religion on my site. I did – reluctantly – but I told him he might as well publicly recant of ever going to church, and immediately stop all Christian activities in order not to offend anyone. Where does it all stop?

But I suspect that for many people asking me to do this, they are just hesitant about standing up and being counted in the public arena. They may be afraid, or worried about what others think, or have a fear of man. But if that is the case, guess what? Then the other side has already won. They have intimidated us into silence.

If that is the case, then we have already lost. I might as well shut down my website and turn myself in to the authorities. Now, I can understand this somewhat, since I get so much hate mail and the occasional death threats. But I have to ask, where is the courage of our convictions?

Can we not stand up unashamedly about what we have said, or have we allowed the other side to cower us, intimidate us, and effectively silence us? Why can’t we be bold in proclaiming truth, and be willing to courageously make a difference, even if it means we might take some flack, get some abuse, or get hated on by all the usual suspects?

Those are five of my concerns. I would have others. How helpful it is to vent like this every now and then is not clear. But perhaps some of what I shared above might be of some help to some people. If so, I guess this was a worthwhile exercise.

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14 Responses to On Social Media Etiquette – And Some Personal Pet Peeves

  • Hi Bill, I sympathise with you in regards to managing communications and friends on Facebook – as someone who helps individuals and businesses do this from a marketing perspective it can be quite complex and at time very frustrating.

    I will address the following point though, so as to possibly provide some clarity:

    “We need a bit of caution and common sense. Often a lot of sleazy sexualised scam requests will come in. As I delete them, I notice the number of guys with Muslim names who have befriended these gals! And sadly I sometimes see some mutual FB friends who have done the same. That should not be, especially if you are a Christian, no matter how lonely and single you might be!”

    I have found that there are a range of attitudes regarding accepting friend requests:
    a) extremely picky – often has many friend requests sitting there for a long time (years) or automatically deletes most if not all of them, except those from actual real life friends and key people they have come to like on FB.
    b) judicious but cautiously friendly – will leave friend requests until they can check the requester out and filter out unwanted noise.
    c) generally accepts any friend requests but checks them out first so ensure they are legit.
    d) those who simply do not check or filter and want as many friends as possible, or are ignorant, or maybe just because they do not care.

    I would class myself as much closer to an a) than a b) with a my small number of friends having resisted joining Facebook (until we started doing marketing for clients though it) and refused most friend requests.

    You may find that some of these FB Christian friends who have accepted dodgy friend requests are type d) – they accept any FB requests without checking, either to get FB numbers or because they see it as reaching the world with their Christian posts, or out of ignorance or they just don’t care. Certainly, if you choose to be the opposite and be judicious in who you accept then that can result in having plenty of friend requests sitting there for months or even years before checking them – just too busy and it’s not that important to me as I personally do not use it as a business communication tool, so at the opposite end of the scale I can understand those who can’t be bothered checking.

    Then there are those pesky hackers who will create false accounts similar to friends and send out friend requests, or hack account and friend their dodgy accounts. And if you’re not particularly FB-savvy you may be none the wiser – so it can become complex.

    I am just saying I’d be careful not to throw a real friendship under the bus because they have friended someone dodgy on Facebook.

    Having said that, I’d also counsel people to be more judicious in this regard. Apart from the fact that there are plenty of scams out there all the time, it is wise to check your friend requests as we need to not only be holy but also to appear holy (avoid being involved in situations where our good character will be sullied in the eyes of the world) . And even if some people at first glance seem to be friendly or of a similar worldview, you can find that you waste precious time and energy on people who turn out to be cantankerous, contentious or even toxic.

    As you say Bill, we need to think carefully before we act or comment. When it comes to the web, digital lasts forever, even if you think that it has been deleted or retracted it may still be stored. No different than in real life, our associations and comment on the web can come back to bite you, many years after the fact.

  • Hi Bill…Regarding Share on FB, if your articles can’t be shared just do what I do, Copy your email article from the web browser and go to FB or other Social Sites and Paste, it works and avoids any Interferences from Social Media platforms(:

    Love and share most of your great topics

    Cheers & blessings
    Eric

  • What? You’re in FB jail, again; shocking! Why I thought you’d been kidnapped by the Martians like in the “Santa Clause and the Martians,” movie. How can your FB friends not figure out you’ve been assigned to the gulag again? Were it not for Rissan, Kerry, and Alan reposting your articles, my page would be darn near empty when you get thrown in the FB slammer. It may be unfair and a royal pain, but really, it is a badge of honor when tyrannical forces at FB knock themselves out so often to silence you, Bill.

  • I am not on FB, but I listen to Christian alternative media. They seem to have the same problem of being locked out without explanation. FB is bias and posts that fit their narrative will reach the masses. I heard if you have a FB group then all the members of that group with receive your message or post, otherwise FB is good at keeping certain topics under wraps.
    If it is far left and half naked it gets a green light.
    God Bless

  • Hi Bill haven’t had a chance to read this yet 🙁 and am just about to pop out but wanted to send you a link to an article that may interest you: https://www.stuff.co.nz/sport/rugby/international/112365345/might-as-well-sack-me–israel-folau-saga-takes-dramatic-twist

    Looks like there could be some good news in the Folau saga – Polynesian players might be taking up arms to support Folau and Christianity. One player has said Rugby Australia might as well sack all Polynesian players as they share Folau’s faith. Since Polynesians made up a third of Australia’s world cup team last year that puts RA between a rock (no pun intended) and a hard place. Do they kowtow to their LGBT sponsors, or support their players? Only time will tell.

  • Don’t know if you saw this already Bill but you get a mention. Almost exactly on topic.
    Printed in today’s SMH and Age:

    https://www.theage.com.au/federal-election-2019/that-notorious-homosexual-liberal-candidate-in-attack-on-tim-wilson-20190501-p51j0z.html

    ‘That notorious homosexual’: Liberal candidate resigns after attack on Tim Wilson
    By Benjamin Preiss and Noel Towell
    May 1, 2019

    A Victorian Liberal candidate has resigned after being embroiled in an extremism row, publicly endorsing an attack on his party colleague, Goldstein MP Tim Wilson, as a “notorious homosexual”.

    Peter Killin complained to fellow right-wing Liberal Christian activists in December that not enough of them had shown up at a preselection vote for the Liberal heartland seat of Goldstein in 2016 to prevent Mr Wilson from being selected to represent the seat.

    Mr Killin, who was contesting the Labor-held seat of Wills in Melbourne’s inner north, made his remarks in the comments thread of the blog of Christian-right blogger Bill Muehlenberg.

    The party confirmed Mr Killin’s resignation on Wednesday afternoon.

    The candidate’s comments came in response to a post by another commentator, Michael Taouk, who said he was not in the Liberal Party, calling for the “Liberal grassroots” to “remove preselection from that notorious homosexual Tim Wilson”.

    Mr Taouk wrote: “No true Christian can fight on the same side of that man.”

    In response, Mr Killin wrote: “Your observations about Mr T Wilson, federal member for Goldstein are most pertinent at this point. Many of us will recall he was the openly homosexual who proposed to his boyfriend in parliment [sic].”

    Mr Killin went on to exhort his fellow activists to greater efforts to prevent gay people from becoming Liberal members of Parliament, noting that Mr Wilson’s preselection was won by a very narrow margin.

    “ONE LOUSY VOTE! So, if you and I were there to participate in preselection the result = no homosexual MP,” Mr Killin wrote.

    “Thats what grass roots is – you and me – not someone else!”

    Elsewhere in the blog post, Mr Killin railed against “evil laws” such as “Abortion, Euthanasia” and “Gender ideologies” and urged his fellow activists to “infiltrate, influence and impel” to “change the party from within”.

    Mr Wilson said on Wednesday that his reaction would be in keeping with his own Christian-inspired values.

    “I’m culturally Anglican,” he said. “So I learnt as a young boy to turn the other cheek and leave judgment to others.

    “I’ve been absolutely consistent from preselection to election to seeking re-election that I’m a forward-looking, modern Liberal proudly representing a forward-looking modern liberal community and that won’t change.”

    Mr Killin was brought in to contest Wills this month after the originally selected candidate was sacked over concerns about her eligibility to sit in Parliament under Section 44 of the constitution.

    Prime Minister Scott Morrison said Mr Wilson was an “outstanding” MP.

    He conceded the party’s vetting procedures had fallen short.

    “For the Liberal Party in this day and age when there is social media, multiple posting, that represents new challenges in the vetting of candidates,” he said.

    “This is something I will be expecting the party to be working on and improving their processes.”

    Mr Killin’s attack on Mr Wilson has come to light after the sacking of Jeremy Hearn, another Melbourne-based Liberal candidate, over extreme anti-Muslim comments, also made online.

    Mr Hearn is the fifth Victorian Liberal candidate to be dumped from the party’s ticket.

    One Liberal source said the comments were outrageous and bigoted.

    “The party is about the rights of the individual, not the rights of bigots,” the source said.

    “Bigots are not welcome in the Liberal Party and that’s the way it should be.”

    Mr Killin has been contacted for comment.

  • Breaking news; Two Liberal Candidates have bitten the dust presumably over comments made in the past and recorded somewhere on the ‘net. Reports by SKY News

    “Liberal Party candidate for Isaacs Jeremy Hearn has been disendorsed by his party for anti-Muslim comments he posted to social media last year.”

    “The Liberal candidate for the inner-Melbourne seat of Wills (Peter Killin) has resigned over anti-gay comments, the latest politician embroiled in the extremist fracas.”

  • Thanks Rosanne and Bruce. No I had not seen the Age/SHM piece. But yes it makes my point all very clearly. Anyone who dares to say anything that goes against the secular left orthodoxy WILL be targeted, hunted down, and silenced.

    One can only ask, how long before the powers that be shut down permanently this website.

  • Hello Bill, what is happening with the Left is totally and utterly sick. I have been looking at all the possibilities and I am going to vote for Fraser Anning. thank you for your emails.

  • The matters raised above concerning social media put me in mind of passages from the Gospels like the one below:

    “The student is not above the teacher, nor a servant above his master. It is enough for students to be like their teachers, and servants like their masters. If the head of the house has been called Beelzebul, how much more the members of his household!

    “So do not be afraid of them, for there is nothing concealed that will not be disclosed, or hidden that will not be made known. What I tell you in the dark, speak in the daylight; what is whispered in your ear, proclaim from the roofs. – Matthew 10:24-27 [NIV]

    Plainly, once a posting, in whatever format, is “out there” on the Internet, it is virtually impossible to recall it in any realistic shape or fashion. As Wiki-Leaks demonstrates, even official secrets are extremely difficult to keep these days.

  • It’s interesting just how much effort seems to be put into hunting down and politically killing ideological foes. Conversely there seems to be very little support for basic freedoms like religious liberty or freedom of speech even from the Liberal Party. The Age article Roseanne linked has a Liberal source saying bigots – meaning Christians, aren’t welcome in the party. So who is left to defend traditional Judeo-Christian values? Are we supposed to simply pull a Pilate on Australia?

    PS. Bill, I didn’t actually mean for my original post to go live as it’s completely unrelated to this article. It was intended more as an FYI, though I guess folk here will be interested. 🙂

  • It’s always worth venting your frustrations Mr M, and if you can’t do it here in our little island of Christendom, then we have very serious problems indeed.

    Facebook is a dying platform since those my age do not use it. That, of course, does not mean you shouldn’t but you would have to keep in mind you are preaching in a church where there are no young. It’s not cool to be on facebook if you are our age. In truth, those my age do not want to be on a platform were our dads can see what we are up to, not us girls, as we have to give our passwords to our dads anyway.

    I think as regards sharing your articles or comments cut, and pasting is by far the best method since I would hope those using your material or comments in a volatile area of social media ensure they remove your details. I remove all your details from your articles that I take into school; however, I wouldn’t when I take them into the church. I think if I repeat what you say I am responsible for those words unless I am merely quoting you as an expert in the field for my eotp and given I’m after an A* for my work, I am cautious what I choose to be grilled on lol.

    It isn’t the case I do not want you to have the credit for your work it is more I do not think it’s right I use you as a club, as it’s easy to distort or misunderstand something you or others say, and portray that as something you said. What is perfectly obvious to you isn’t necessarily so for us. We have to learn to stand on our own feet and take the knocks for things we say.

    If a boy asks Molly, Milly, Alice or kate for my number they wouldn’t give it to them since they know the boys would be a pain. If they could contact me via your site they would and would likely make sexual remarks or pester me for dates since they are silly immature boys whose fathers are failing them. Furthermore, people may think I am encouraging them to do so, and my dad’s name has to be protected. I will get my own name from my husband one day and have the morality of being a wife, so it will be different then. Further, you shouldn’t have to be bothered with those boys. I wouldn’t want you to trigger one of the liberal teachers either as that is my pleasure to do so.

    The left will leave you alone if you aren’t a threat. So winning is getting put into the thought polices prison. The more conservative types that are imprisoned is a good thing since it will take many to get things changed.

  • Thanks again for being in the “Slammer” to get the truth out Bill. Keeping you in prayer!

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