Social Media Followers vs. Real Life Friends

I'm a Social Media junkie, but I thought that my real life friends would know me better than my "followers" on Social Media outlets like Twitter and Facebook. I feel like I have been mistaken the whole time that I have thought this. Is it possible for followers to know you better than your real friends?

I'm a lifelong liberal. I've always supported the arts. When I was 10 or 11, I declared that I was pro-choice. I thought about environmental problems seriously at that age, too. As I grew up, I became increasingly more aware of the world and its problems, and I wanted to find solutions. When I was 16, I declared that a Bush presidency would be bad for the country, much to the chagrin of my conservative classmates. I thought that my friends were listening to my somewhat outspoken nature when it came to politics and policies, but apprently I was mistaken.

When I first found out about Facebook, I thought it was neat because it would not only allow me to connect with my real life friends on the Internet, but it would also allow me to express myself more freely. I was overjoyed with the ability to label myself as "Very Liberal" on my profile, and, though I thought this might scare some people who knew I was liberal, I thought it would finally allow me to express my point of view much easier.

I also found that there was an ability to join causes and groups on Facebook, which allowed me to fully express myself and my opinions. I tried to join as many as I could think of that meshed with my ideals. I didn't dare invite any of my real life friends to most of them, as I knew they wouldn't approve of things like access to abortions, gay marriage, etc. About the most liberal thing I could invite any of them to was something supporting dance.

Then came my discovery of Twitter, which I didn't fully appreciate until recently. I was able to have followers on there, which is kind of a heady experience. So I posted about random things at first, until the Election 2008 section was created. Then I went crazy on it, and I ended up with more followers. People who believed the same things as me were finally stepping up to the plate to be friendly with me.

Unfortunately, my friends, who could have easily kept up with my expressions of liberalness, started inviting me to join their causes and groups which supported things that clearly went against my already established beliefs. I thought, "Did these people even know who they were sending this to?" when I would receive these invitations.

Then, the comments when we would see each other offline would get more and more upsetting to me. We would be sitting at a table together, enjoying a meal, and all of a sudden, they would be bashing Democrats and liberals. They would call us all sorts of names. In a car ride, one of my church friends compared Obama to Korihor, who happens to be someone in LDS scriptures that is called an antichrist. These people were not joking when they would say these things, and it was upsetting that they would belittle my beliefs and my choices, when I would not belittle their choices.

I began to wonder how it was that I could have more people who "followed" me that had similar opinions to me than I could have friends that could, at the very least, respect the fact that I was a liberal. I understand that some of my newer friends may not have realized how devout of a liberal I am, but at the very least they could have looked at my profile or my blog, which publishes to my Facebook account, and seen that they were "dealing with" a liberal. Maybe then I could feel a little more respected.


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