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This app can zap political venom

November 10, 2012 12:10 am


Rather than looking at political posts on Facebook, enjoy pictures of cute kittens.

SOME OF US looked forward to this week as a time of healing on social media.

The political rants on Facebook would melt away and be replaced with pictures of cute kittens and puppies.

Some of us have been disappointed. Venom continues to spew. As the "fiscal cliff" looms, it's likely to get nastier and nastier.

Can't we all just get along?

A recent survey by the Pew Research Center's Internet & American Life Project found that about one-fifth of us unfriend or hide or block posts from those who are too stridently partisan, or simply post about politics too often.

Brad Reed of put it best: "There are two kinds of Facebook users out there: those who use their pages as political soap boxes and those who are sick of people using their pages as political soap boxes."

Good news: We won't have to deal with it anymore because of a free app called "Unpoliticme" from Buzzfeed and Unbabyme.

You simply enter keywords related to the status updates or tweets you don't want to see.

Unbabyme replaces the hundreds of pictures overzealous parents post of their little bundles of joy with "awesome stuff" like kitten pictures. This seems a little sociopathic to me.

Now Unpoliticme does the same thing with politically oriented posts using a Google Chrome app. This seems like a sane solution.

It also works with Twitter.

Some social media experts have been saying that if we keep things civil and stay open-minded we might even enjoy political back-and-forth on Facebook. Uh-huh. If we were capable of keeping things civil and open-minded, no one would be asking experts how to deal with this.

That's a generalization, of course. There are some very civil and open-minded people out there, including my friend Susan Stein Andres. Here's part of a status update she posted Thursday night:

"Silence doesn't mean agreement or disagreement, approval or disapproval. I just prefer to turn my head sometimes because the people behind the statements are just too important to me. I care a great deal about the issues, but I fight my battles in my way."

Until more of us attain Susan's high level of consciousness and are able to remain silent without grinding our teeth down to nubs, we can use this technology to selectively replace uncivil and closed-minded posts with pleasant ones without unfriending people.

By the way, you can also block pictures of cute kittens.

Michael Zitz: 540/846-5163

Copyright 2014 The Free Lance-Star Publishing Company.