Dear Friends

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Facebook used to be a place I spent time because it added value to my life. I thoroughly enjoyed seeing each of you on your journeys through life; graduating, getting a job, getting married, taking trips, having babies, (sometimes) ending a challenging marriage or relationship, moving to new parts of the world, taking a risk, and going on adventures. In two words: living life.

While these types of experiences remain the reason I haven’t left the platform to-date, finding those nuggets of raw love and emotion are harder and harder to find on Facebook.

What I know to be true is that Facebook has become a place where self-selection bias is thriving. We are less likely than ever in my lifetime to have meaningful and productive discourse with our fellow humans.

Many issues are facing us as a nation and as a World that are complicated, polarizing, and to which a clear path to progress is not self-evident. My words in no way seek to minimize any of these topics, but we will not solve any of them by shouting, forming groups that exclude, or by unfriending the offenders.

I firmly believe the world is a better place when we start from a position of including everyone. We are more successful when we put greater effort into understanding than to be understood. Dialogue is more constructive when we listen more voluminously than we speak. Hearts and minds will be won when we keep love in our hearts, and we make “hate” the four letter word that it is.

So let’s talk about politics, and religion, and ideology, and sexuality, and discrimination, and economics, and the environment. But let’s also hold ourselves to a higher standard. The burden is on each of us to be informed. Read a lot, from various sources. Check the facts. Think with a critical mind. Seek out information, especially about views you don’t share. And most importantly, find the common ground that unites us.

I’m not perfect. In fact, I’m highly imperfect; in a word, human. I’m susceptible to most if not all of the things I’ve spoken out against. I’m also aware of the need to elevate my game going forward and change my modus operandi.

I’m not quitting Facebook. I am making a conscious choice to spend more time offline both with those I love and with those with whom I disagree. I’m hopeful you’ll choose to join me in these “offline” dialogues, adventures, and the occasional shenanigans. Call, write, or text (if you must).

-JES

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