FriendFeed and Politics

October 27, 2008 — 16 Comments


That’s not just the logo color of FriendFeed, it’s also the political slant.

Blue though in the US sense, not the rest of the world, where blue is actually the conservative color.

Mark Rizzn Hopkins announced Friday that he’d had enough and was quitting FriendFeed. The reaction was mostly negative.

I don’t agree with the criticism. If I was Mark, I would have quit sooner.

Mark did make one mistake though: the reason he gave in his post wasn’t a good one. The Obama birth certificate story was being pushed by an anti-semitic loon that a good number of hard right-wing sites had disowned. It had also been disproved many, many times. But hey, sometimes we call it wrong, and not everyone knows all the facts leading up to it. Hell, could have been me making the wrong call there. The Obama birth certificate story polluted Mark’s general issue, which is a shame, so lets ignore it.

Politics on FriendFeed has gotten nasty at times, and even stupid. Most of the nasty stuff did start on the right, at least among the threads I followed or posted. I even blocked a few people along the way. But finger pointing in one direction isn’t fair when it should go in both directions, because some of those preaching intolerance can be intolerant themselves.

Then there’s this really weird…or should I say stupid hate the rich meme that’s come up of late, driven in part by Alex Scoble. If you ever wanted to prove that Obama supporters are socialists, read Alex’s stuff. Dumb stuff, like the rich are only rich because they already have money, and should be taxed so they are equal, or people shouldn’t be allowed to make interest on money because that’s not a productive use of money.

Scary stuff, and far to the left.

I shouldn’t generalize because most people are reasonable, it’s just sometimes they get caught up in a myopia of thought that they can’t see the middle line.

Here’s a great endorsement for Obama today from Middle line, explains the weaknesses but argues why on the balance he’s the better candidate. Similar message we’ve heard from some on the right who have endorsed him as well. These are arguments I can relate to, and many people in the middle will as well.

The thing is, it’s wrong that Mark felt the need to quit FriendFeed; not wrong that he did it, but wrong that people couldn’t be more accommodating of his point of view and he felt his only recourse was to quit.

I don’t agree with Mark on everything, but we agree on far more than we disagree. I nearly unsubscribed from his Google Reader shares last week because he shares and reads the same stuff I do. I know for example that his leanings are Libertarian (like mine), but he’s a little clouded by the socialist rhetoric pointed at Obama. If I was 10 years younger I know I would have made the same calls Mark does.

Don’t lynch Mark for his decision. Consider it an opportunity to improve your discourse and respect towards others. Yes, some on the hard right go over board, but you will always be better placed taking the high moral ground of civility in response. And remember, the truth is sometimes in the middle.