I’ve been feeling a desire to write slightly more controversial pieces recently. Or at least I’ve wanted to move away from the easiest method of doing media and social media: telling your audience exactly what they want to hear. A long time ago a mentor told me that a real friend tells you what you need to hear, not what you want to hear. And even though I never really prefer to sound like a Hallmark card, that line has stuck with me over time. It’s helped me be a better friend, partner, and, I hope, writer.
The simple truth is that a lot of people on social media and in traditional media just tell their audience, their followers, their subscribers what they want to hear. And a lot of us want to hear what we want to hear, as you might guess. This whole process, this system where we follow who we want to follow and where a lot of us create curated feeds of information has been turned into an unhelpful trope. The echo-chamber, the bubble, there’s a lot of oversimplified critique of what has been built and cultivated on social media in particular.
The reason I’ve been recently drawn toward writing pieces with a little more conflict, a little less of what I think people want to hear, is not to pop your bubble or jettison you out of your echo chamber. It’s because the fight we’re in is difficult, and winning it requires answering difficult questions. On the left and really across political media a lot of people want your anger. They want your clicks, fueled by and your rage. And I’ve been determined to not just give you rage-bait. I don’t want you to just click and share in your frustration and fury and then go about your day. I want to win. I want us to be free, safe, thriving. And I want us to build that world together. That takes difficult things and complex answers. Sometimes, it takes conflict.
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