Facebook: The Modern Forum

August 11th, 2015 by Dionna | 9 Comments
Posted in Adults, Breastfeeding/Lactivism, Carnival and Special Series, Carnival of Natural Parenting, Circumcision/Intactivism, Compassionate Advocacy, Eclectic Learning, Teens

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Welcome to the August 2015 Carnival of Natural Parenting: Life Learners

This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Code Name: Mama and Hobo Mama. This month our participants have talked about how they continue learning throughout life and inspire their children to do the same.

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facebook forum

Almost everyone I know has said at some point, “Facebook is such a time suck. I need to deactivate my account.” Or the other common lamentation, “The comments and articles I see posted on Facebook make me fear for humanity.”

I’ve said versions of both. But I cannot bring myself to quit Facebook. Aside from enjoying the peek into the lives of my family and friends, I continue to actively use Facebook as a modern forum. In the absence of a newspaper subscription or a lively college classroom, I use Facebook to broaden my world view on social and political issues.

I’m learning from Facebook, every day.

I was raised Southern Baptist in a predominantly white, middle class neighborhood. My dad was full time military, my mom stayed home. I’m still working to unpack and erase the prejudices and stereotypes ingrained in me since birth (white privilege, internalized misogyny, and Christian intolerance, to name only a few).

I am fortunate to be Facebook friends with a variety of intelligent, forward-thinking women and men who challenge me. Reading the articles and opinions they share on Facebook broadens my world view and gives me the tools I need to raise my children to be compassionate, brave, confident in their own skin, and respectful allies. Without Facebook, I would not be exposed to smart commentary on understanding prejudice and #BlackLivesMatter; on being an ally to transgender and gender-nonconforming people; on body shaming, the hyper-sexualization of women (and teens and children), and rape culture.

The list is endless. The learning is endless. I am so grateful that I can use Facebook to listen and engage in conversation.

An ancient Roman forum where citizens met to discuss politics and important issues

I’m helping others open their own minds.

While I’m learning from others, I’m also passing it along. Facebook is like an endless game of telephone. The message never stops with one person – it keeps getting passed on from one friend to the next (but hopefully not getting filtered and blurred along the way). I’ve engaged in so many conversations with people on Facebook who read something I’d shared and learned something new (or something about themselves). Things like Jimmy Carter’s essay on leaving the Southern Baptist Convention because of how the Convention’s leaders discriminate against women. Or how to explain white privilege to broke white people. The urgency of legalizing gay marriage. And issues directly relevant to my own experience – such as normalizing breastfeeding past infancy and de-normalizing circumcision – have changed hearts and minds directly through Facebook dialogue.

Even more startling is when you encounter someone on Facebook who challenges your deeply held views. Facebook reveals the experiences of others to us in a way that we would not experience by watching TV or walking past someone in a grocery store. In our technological world where “community” has shifted from our neighbors to our “online friends,” it’s easy to stick to groups where everyone shares the same views. We need to be challenged to look inward. And Facebook is often where it’s at. My heart has been full to bursting watching friends and family accept (even embrace) an “other” whose life path would have created discomfort, even distaste, before they “met” on Facebook.

Facebook is today’s forum – a place where people from all walks of life can meet to discuss philosophies, debate ideas, and share information. As long as I can use it for that purpose, I’m keeping my account active.

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Title Photo modified with permission (words added) from Master OSM 2011 via Flickr Creative Commons

Photo 2 used with permission from Liseth Salander via Flickr Creative Commons

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Carnival of Natural Parenting -- Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama

Visit Code Name: Mama and Hobo Mama to find out how you can participate in the next Carnival of Natural Parenting!
Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:

  • The Financial Advice That Saved My Marriage — Shortly after they got married, Emily at Natural Parents Network and her husband visited a financial planner. Many of the goals and priorities they set back then are now irrelevant, but one has stuck with them through all of the employment changes, out-of-state-moves, and child bearing: allowances.
  • Lifelong Learning — Survivor at Surviving Mexico–Adventures and Disasters writes about how her family’s philosophy of life-long learning has aided them.
  • Inspiring Children to be Lifelong Learners — Donna from Eco-Mothering discusses the reasons behind her family’s educational choices for their daughter, including a wish list for a lifetime of learning.
  • Always Learning — Kellie at Our Mindful Life loves learning, and lately she’s undertaken a special project that her family has been enjoying sharing with her.
  • We’re all unschoolers — Lauren at Hobo Mama embraces the joy in learning for its own sake, and wants to pass that along to her sons as she homeschools.
  • My children, my teachers Stoneageparent shares how becoming a parent has opened doors into learning for her and her family, through home education and forest school.
  • Never Stop Learning — Holly at Leaves of Lavender discusses her belief that some of the most important things she knows now are things she’s learned since finishing “formal” schooling.
  • Learning is a Lifelong Adventure — Learning has changed over time for Life Breath Present, and she is more excited and interested now than ever before.
  • Facebook: The Modern Forum — Dionna at Code Name: Mama explains why Facebook is today’s forum – a place where people from all walks of life can meet to discuss philosophies, debate ideas, and share information.
  • 10 Ways to Learn from Everyday Life (Inspired by my Life in Japan) — Erin at And Now, for Something Completely Different offers tips she learned while living in Japan to help you learn from everyday life.

9 Responses to:
"Facebook: The Modern Forum"

  1. Survivor   survivorSurvivorinMX

    I often go back and forth about the value of Facebook as well. I have subscribed to several out-of-the-box thinking sites and have learned some amazing things. However, I get discouraged when I share this incredible information and get so little response.

    • Facebook’s algorithms can make things difficult too. But if you keep sharing things, people are noticing, even if you don’t get a lot of responses!

  2. Life Breath Present   LB_Present

    Oh, the joys and troubles with social media today. I’ve stopped using Facebook as an individual (personal account) for various reasons, but I love that I’m involved in blogging and able to connect and learn from so many different people/cultures and have pretty good conversations and (yes, sometimes) thought challenges! :)

    • I don’t use FB as my blog very much, although I don’t have a particular reason for that. So at this point, my FB blog page would only interact with other parenting sites – I’d have to go on a major liking spree to catch my blog’s page up with the other issues that are important to me :)

  3. Lauren @ Hobo Mama   Hobo_Mama

    I’ve learned so much in this internet age and cringe to think of how ignorant & close-minded I was such a short time ago. (Presumably I’ll keep thinking that!)

    I’ve recently been ruminating on whether and how I should step outside my conflict-avoidant shell on Facebook to gently engage family & friends who’ve not yet considered the issues I’ve been exposed to through my own stream of well-meaning and patient, persistent mentors. I think it’s the best way for me, from my own positions of privilege, to be an ally to oppressed groups … but it’s scary to open that can of worms with the people I know and otherwise love and respect. Any tips or encouragement?

    • Have someone you can vent to? I don’t have a lot of advice – I’m still pretty anxiety-ridden when I engage anyone (but esp. family) in heated conversation. Having someone to hash it out with helps, both to keep my responses compassionate and to get rid of the anxiety.

  4. I completely know what you mean! Facebook makes me nuts sometimes, but I could never get rid of my account completely. I love being able to stay in touch with my friends and family all over the country (my husband is military, so I have friends all over the place!). But I also really love the way FB allows us to share information. I love that the variety of friends I’ve made share such a unique collection of articles every day, articles I might not stumble upon otherwise. I love hearing other viewpoints and having the opportunity for a good-natured debate. I love being able to share my own opinions on various topics; like you, I view FB as a way of gently sharing info on topics that are near-and-dear to me, like birth, breastfeeding, gentle parenting, delicious recipes, and more. FB allows us to reach out to so many people at once, and in these modern times when we don’t really have physical villages to turn to for support, I love that I am still able to connect with my loved ones and like-minded (and not-like-minded) friends.

  5. I was nodding and saying “yes” the entire time I read this post! This is so well put.
    I agree; I often see people talking about how FB is a waste of time, but I really appreciate all of the opportunities for discourse that I find there. It’s a fabulous way to talk to people who are living differently than you, which helps us to all understand one another better.
    I have learned about so many important things online. I learned about attachment parenting (which revolutionized the way in which I interacted, not only with children, but with people of all ages) here, in addition to a lot of the viewpoints that you mentioned — I’m so grateful for it.
    Unlearning poisonous points of view is so important; I’m so glad that, not only have you unlearned them yourself, but you also educate others about it online, in addition to raising your children without these prejudices! You’re amazing. I am so, so glad that there are people like who, who are making the next generation of earthlings a better one of which to be a part :)
    Also, this queer person wants to thank you for being an ally. Allies are so, so important. I appreciate you!

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