What’s it all about, friend?

I have a serious question: What is Facebook for?

I don't mean Mark Zuckerberg's profits or the stealing and dealing of your private information. I mean, what is it you turn to Facebook for?

I have learned this evening — the hard way — that I see Facebook as something very different from how it is seen by many (most?) others. I have been unfriended. Worse than that, I suspect I have lost a friend.

And it strikes me as odd — not that someone might passionately disagree with me — but that someone would take my questions as offense. I am a questioner. That I challenge an idea in no way indicates I believe I have the answer, but only that I have a different point of view and that together we might get closer to some truth.

I gather this is not what Facebook is to most.

But then I have to ask, if not why not?

Look, let me offer my point of view. It's evidently not right, but I'll put it out there for consideration. Everywhere else on the internet, we are afforded the opportunity to hear what we want to hear. News streams and politically bigoted sites presenting a painfully one-sided perspective of the seven-billion-sided human experience. It's so easy to be told we are right; just choose who we want to talk to and what we want to hear.

Facebook offers the opportunity to step away from that. Better than, I would say, even Medium at this early stage of life. Here, we find collections and may find complexities if we seek them out. On Facebook, of course, you choose your friends and the algorithm will ally like-minded individuals more often than not. But you can hear another side of the conversation.It’s still remarkably easy to stumble upon someone’s opinion which is very much different from your own.

Perhaps the rules are that you are not allowed to comment in return — however respectfully. If so, I am disappointed. Saddened, even. But that may just be the case.

Still I would point out there are those who never admit to feeling a thing. If you have the will to share your thoughts, does that not imply the conviction to defend them.

And perhaps that is it. Defense admits no weakness.

I ask / share all of this with the greatest of respect and absolutely no disparagement.

My daughters suggest it is the issue of public embarrassment — having your ideas 'ridiculed' before your friends. First I would say there is a polite way to challenge an idea, though everyone's ideas of polite are as varied as their ideas of elitism and ignorance, so...

But I still worry that we are then looking to only be told we are right. Agree, or be silent. And to this end, Facebook is blatantly complicit: like and share, but no option — however generic or sterile — to dislike or challenge.

I speak as someone who has sought friendships on Facebook with people with whom I vehemently disagree politically. Not to troll, but to learn. To hear how they have arrived at their position. I know many people whose intelligence I greatly admire who have arrived at positions so far removed from my own, I scratch my head and wonder where the road turned for them. Or me. What do they see that I don't? Or vice versa? And so I greatly want to hear their story.

And ask them questions.

But perhaps I'm not supposed to do that.