A Facebook Experiment in Open Dialogue

I’ve spent a lot of time the past few days thinking ‘what do I do next?’. I feel that we have spent years becoming more and more deeply divided and I worry that the blowback from this election will only push us further apart.

In that spirit, I have a new offer up for my Facebook friends. I don’t know if it will do anything, but it was something I could actually do — something we all could do easily which is just to try to…understand. Or if we can’t understand, at least to be aware.

I leave it here for you to do with what you will. If anyone is interested in replicating there is more information below on how to create new Facebook lists (also good for curating access to other content).

My offer:

“We are becoming more divided. Our level of discourse is increasingly vitriolic and the only people who are winning are the politicians using it to get away with half-truths and outright lies.

“That said, I have a proposition. I will share more of what I’m reading with those who want to see it. It will give you a look at the news and headlines that I am seeing so you can see the topics that are being discussed and how those discussions are happening. I would love if you do the same. I want to be more well versed in what is happening that I don’t see.

“This is not an offer to gloat or be gloated at. It’s not meant to instigate fighting and I likely won’t personally participate too much in the comments. This is specifically aimed at increasing access to information on both sides. Maybe this way we can all start to understand what one another are thinking and how we are feeling. Maybe we can start coming back together.

“This is my small reach across the aisle. It’s something I can do. I make this offer in full openness and without a single ulterior motive.

“If you want to take me up on this, just like or comment on this post. I’m going to create a new “list” just to share news so it won’t crowd the feed of anyone who isn’t interested.


How to create and use Facebook lists:

  1. Go to the page of a friend you want to include on the list
  2. To the right of their profile picture you’ll see a box with the word “Friends” and a checkmark. Click on that box then click on “add to another list.” Scroll down until you see “+ new list” and click. Type the name of the new list. Repeat this process with other people you want to add.
  3. You can utilize the lists when you post something. Posts can either be limited to only show up to the people on certain lists or to not show up to people on certain lists.
  4. To curate your content, type a post or update as usual. Before you click post you will see a box to the immediate left of the ‘post’ button. Click on that. You will see a little cog with the word ‘custom’. Click and customize your audience (Custom lists appear with an icon that features a piece of paper with a person in front of it. Facebook-curated lists appear with an icon only of a person or people. You should know this if you are like me and create a list titled “Friends,” which is also the name of a list that Facebook creates for you).