DES MOINES, Iowa — Since the pandemic began, Facebook users have spent more time scrolling, liking, sharing and posting to the social media platform than ever before. The average user spends about an hour on Facebook every day.
As of late, we have seen the best and worst sides of social media platform interactions. Divisive and controversial comments adding fuel to the place where people were once able to connect and converse civilly. A Des Moines Facebook user is taking the platform back to its originally intended purpose, one post at a time.
“When I get on Facebook I felt like there isn’t anything that I wanted to read. It was very polarized. I don’t know if what I am reading is real or not real. People are angry. People are upset,” explains Rob Randazzo. “Facebook was a very dark place for me and I didn’t want it to be.”
At the end of 2020, Randazzo said it was time to give his Facebook page, a facelift. He’s made an intentional post every day this year. The posts aren’t meant to be controversial but conversational and civil.
“It’s been fun to see my dad’s cousin from Chicago engage with my friend from high school. It’s those two engaging in a conversation and not a conversation of disagreement or of hate but enjoying each others conversation,” Randazzo smiles. “That’s what we need more of, to engage in gentle ways.”
It’s an entry point to connect simple conversations with more meaningful dialogue. The 44-year-old educator stresses people need to find a space to move closer to one another in order to move forward.
“One of the saddest things in the last year is hearing about people who have unfriended each other on Facebook, family members who have unfriended each other on Facebook because politically were out of place,” Randazzo said.
At time when civil discourse is hard to find, Randazzo is hopeful it can return. As the year comes to an end, his daily posts are helping to bring compassion back into the conversation.
“I’ve enjoyed bringing a little bit of hope and light each day into people’s lives. I know that seems so silly when talking about Facebook, but I still think it can be used in a good way,” he smiles. “People want to connect even if it’s with people they do not know.”
Randazzo’s biggest takeaway from his Facebook #365 challenge is the importance to talking and listening to others with different viewpoints.