Using Facebook as a tool for dialogue
Uninvited is one of our Bring the Buzz projects which is coming up next in the backspace. Bring the Buzz allows artists to try out new ideas they have in a safe, low risk environment, but still on a stage. Shira and Julie of Uninvited are examining the pervasive culture of rape and sexual violence through personal conversations, online conversations and onstage explorations. Below, Shira talks about the role of Facebook.
One of the things that Julie and I have been trying to do as part of our process in creating Uninvited is to initiate conversations with people who have really different world views from us, and to try and have meaningful conversations with them about where they’re coming from, where we’re coming from, and the intersection of these two perspectives. We’ve found that Facebook has been a really interesting tool for making contact with total strangers. And that despite it having the possibility of being somewhat anonymous, making contact on Facebook – even just challenging someone’s status – can be really scary.
We read through hundreds of Facebook posts on pages like “You know she’s playing hard to get when you’re chasing her down an alleyway”, things like “It’s not rape if you kill her first…lol”. We were really fascinated to know what prompted these folks to join these pages and to contribute these nuggets. So we asked them. We found that just sending a message that included a simple question seemed to produce the most responses (rather than including how we felt about the original post).
The responses have been interesting, sometimes frustrating, sometimes wonderful. But throughout it all, we’ve continued to ask ourselves if these little questions and online conversations can create any sort of meaningful effect. Can we make any impact on someone we’ve never met? What do we have to learn from their responses? We don’t have any clear answers to these questions yet, but we’re continuing to work on it.
Here’s an article
that explains some of the controversy around some of the Facebook group pages, if you’d like more context: