26 September, 2020

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“Why Don’t You Like My Post?” Americans Keep It Apolitical On Facebook

By Frederica Jansz  –

Frederica Jansz

I became an active user of Facebook only after I migrated to America.

I had an account for a few years back in Sri Lanka, but until now I rarely had the time or the inclination to respond to posts, comments or share what was on my mind. But Facebook for me in America has turned out to be a whole new, and refreshing, experience.

I have only about a hundred “friends,” both American and Sri Lankan. But their posts are as different as salt and pepper.

Sri Lankans will immediately like and share any kind of post or video without reservation. Many of them clicked eagerly on a recent post about the son of a hated government minister who had been stabbed in the parking lot of a posh retail store in Colombo, liking and sharing the news with glee.

On the other hand, Americans seem to rarely — if ever — respond to such political posts.

When I recently posted what I thought was a very apt clip of Mindy Kaling in her refreshingly sly way critiquing the lack of representation of Asian women in Hollywood, (despite the fact that “there are literally billions of us”) my post got ONE measly like, from my Sri Lankan girl friend who now lives in Scotland!

Millions of people around the globe are on Facebook. But when she moved to Northwest from Sri Lanka earlier this year, Frederica Jansz found out that the way people post here is completely different.

Another post sharing videos of an embarrassing interview Fox News carried with Religions Scholar Reza Aslan and another, of Russell Brand on MSNBC mocking American Media, received comments and likes only from Sri Lankans.

On the other hand, posts by an American “friend” on what is on her dinner menu day after day, from kabobs to grilled corn on the cob, get 30 or 40 likes!

I know of only one Sri Lankan who would dare to post what he’s eating, but that’s because he is a professional chef! Even he doesn’t get 40 likes.

Similarly, it’s been interesting to observe recently that while Egyptians are being massacred, the rest of us are still posting on Facebook about the different cappuccinos we’ve been enjoying!

I can only conclude that Americans are simply not interested in bringing their politics to Facebook, or do not want to make public their views on anything even remotely political.

Still, Americans do seem to manage to publish controversial posts by accident.

A friend of mine posted one Saturday morning that while she shopped at a popular retail she and her daughter were surprised to count “123 Asians!”

I was tempted to comment that the post reminded me of the time my family and I took a vacation in South Africa and spent one entire morning on Safari counting the number of impala we could spot! But I decided to let this one go.

This same “friend” two days ago posted that she had un-friended someone for posting “a racist comment” on her Facebook page, apologizing profusely to all her other friends who may have been exposed to the unpalatable comment.

I burst out loud — laughing!

Facebook does, of course, allow users to remove comments on their own posts. And you can always block or un-friend people who you no longer have the patience for.

Having myself already blocked a few friends I can tell you it is a super satisfying action. At my age it gets easier to be more selective about who you want to be friends with and to be intolerant of toxic relationships. Especially when you possess an application that allows you to simply click them out of your life — forever!

I was afforded the same treatment by one friend. AND she is American! We have since made-up but in real life remain “un-friended” on FB!

But back to politics: I have another American Facebook friend who is currently running a campaign for a seat on the City Council. But even he does not post any comments that are political. He and I have had heated debates both verbally and via text messaging on the gun culture in America and other issues, he being a Republican and I a fan of Democrats. But he would never post those same comments on Facebook.

I can only conclude that most Americans, at least the ones on my Facebook feed, are worried about hurting somebody and so refrain from posting political or religious comments. Or perhaps their opinions are in constant flux and so they do not want to place on record a comment that could come back to haunt them at a later date?

Or maybe, for Americans Facebook is more a frivolous activity and less of a professional mode of conveying a message. They are certainly in stark contrast to their Sri Lankan counterparts, who use Facebook to post a consistent stream of political and religious material, rarely hesitating to comment or share such posts with gusto.

Either way, with over a billion users around the globe, I guess Facebook offers something for everyone — that is except for teenagers, who have had enough of their parents are hogging the system!

*This article first appeared in Seattle globalist. Frederica Jansz is a Senior Editor with award winning recognition and international experience. Former Editor in Chief of The Sunday Leader newspaper in Sri Lanka Frederica currently lives in the US together with her two sons.

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Latest comments

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    Frederica clearly hasn’t heard of news/images/videos going ‘viral’ then. A conception which originated from her new found homeland. Nor has she heard of political campaigns like ‘Yes we Can’, or the US govt backed, evangelical church orchestrated ‘KONY 2012’ campaign that plagued our computer screens, brainwashed ignorant ‘clickster’ youth and saw the deployment of US troops in Uganda, C.A.R, DR Congo, Rwanda and one other African nation.

    Other examples of Americans sharing heaps of unnecessary crap can be seen by simply glancing over the social media pages of their favourite brands, bands and celebs.

    Perhaps Frederica’s American friends from suburbia, who make up a portion of her less than 100 friends, tend to live in a bubble of their own, however it is foolish for her to think that these friends of hers represent the United States in its entirety. Looks like those investigative journalism skills are seriously waning despite old Frederica’s efforts to influence Sri lanka from afar.

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      piyadasa godahewa:
      At least you are one of the Rajapassa acolytes who has the guts to put your name on your comment, something most of your ilk, despite their protection from anything except criticism on such as this website, do not. Or am I wrong and are you using a pseudonym as well, despite your level of protection?
      In any event, it is patently obvious that you have little interest in anything except taking a cheap shot at Freddie with your post and your time might have been far better spent applying for an increase in your stipend from you-know-who.

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    [Edited out]

    This comment was removed by a moderator because it didn’t abide by our Comment policy.
    For more detail see our Comment policy
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    how naive is this woman . How did she become a chief editor of a major newspaper in Sri Lanka .

    She should write for yahoo , they have a lot of morons writing articles that mean nothing these days

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      I think she is not naive – a lady that has guts to write what she think is right. You guys seem to be far from her qualities. I read her article with much more interest :) Sure, the many would do so.

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        her article clearly displays her ignorance !hitchmalli .Maybe you fall into the same category.

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          She displays how immature she is through judging a nation by looking at a handful of her friends. No wonder you messed things up in SL. It’s good to speak your mind when it’s clear, true and serves the society.
          What you did through your unverified news article in Srilanka was only harm and nothing good.

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    Frederica,

    Sounds like you are on a steep, and climbing, learning curve.

    See much, listen muchly and speak sparingly.

    It will all make sense in time to come.

    Never mind the cess pit of our politics here in this rainy blessed isle; just wrap up well and enjoy the wonderful autumn colours that you are about to enjoy in Washington state.

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    Dear Frederica, its your friends not Americans. Most of my Americans friends post quite a few political links usually prompting a lively debate. Here is a sample of posts/links from my American friends on Facebook now
    “The women who do it all but don’t have it all”
    “These 20 cities have the most to lose from rising sea levels”
    “23-year-old was mauled by taxi in NYC yesterday, foot severed, and now she has to get new limb”
    “‘People think everyone who is poor gets welfare, and it’s just not true’; How the myth of the…”

    So… lets not generalize no?

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    Poor FJ. Sounds bored out of her mind.

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    [Edited out]

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    for an editor in chief to not have tapped into social media whilst in sri lanka is like a frog in the well…

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      She was too busy making up stories in her imagination ! Most of her investigative reporting was fiction.

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    Look at those Oh soooo intelligent Siri Lankans who , would even vote for a thief and that too from Tsunami victims!!!!

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    [Edited out]

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    I now wonder how the hell she became an editor … or chief editor… was somebody writing for her!!

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    This is just an example of a naïve person who takes some thing so superficial as facebook serious. As adults we all know that this facebook is a fakebook and you only post what you want others to see. Apart from being amazed that her small town Facebook friends are ‘not liking’ her posts, Frederika seems to be generalizing Americans based on facebook friends personal preferences. I am not belonging to any party or a henchwoman of any of the people who drove her out of the country. I am myself a Sri Lankan who lives outside Sri Lanka for 23 years. And the first lesson I learned in living outside is not to generalise on people, give allowances to what is different and not to expect a ‘mini Sri Lanka’ outside Sri Lanka. And from a investigative journalist, this kind of article appears to us as very ‘poor kind of journalism’. Frederika, it is better to stick to what you are good at, write on Sri Lanka and keep on annoying Sri Lankans. If you annoy Americans, it can also become not so warm place to be. Try reading the book ‘Culture shock USA’, they have a series of this book on every country. It is ironical that they also write for Sri Lanka that ‘politics and religion’ are better not to be discussed as people are sensitive to these subjects.

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    Actually some do post their religious beliefs and open views on issues such as abortion. But basically Americans are clueless about world politics and indifferent to local politics.

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