With warring political camps on social media, populist demagogues on the rise, inauthentic bot accounts and the suffocating limitations of 140 characters all contributing to divisiveness in our world- it would first seem like a pretty bleak place to air any sort of opinion without it being met by a barrage of short, heated and unproductive retorts!
Professor of Psychology at Rider University, John Suler, contends that the anonymity and invisibility of online personas are damaging our ability to effectively reason with one another, and that face-to-face engagement has traditionally facilitated calmer, more fruitful discussion (Suler 2004).
With multiple experts in the field sharing this conclusion, this is one of the main pillars of concern on which we base our values; that careful, considered discussion is the key to saving civil, productive discourse.
Counter to some scholar’s dismal outlook on social media- we believe that this value is best exercised on social media. We engage hundreds of individuals on our Youtube Channel, Twitter, Facebook group and Facebook page with thought-provoking questions (often accompanied by articles) provided by a range of people from differing backgrounds with a variety of political, social, philosophical and religious perspectives.
In this way, we can utterly transform the nature of discussion starting from social media outwards, echoing this ethos in our bustling weekly meetings and stimulating events.
But this is not all that we do- we have found that through hosting and facilitating discussion, we can cultivate a community. One that includes a space for all seeking open discussion, with an atmosphere of social engagement and inter-personal networking.
Many friendships have been forged through Liberate the Debate. We have consistently witnessed personal views change and relationships flourish through our casual model, which of course brings us as much joy to see as it does our membership!
We find that the values described can best be summed up through our three main objectives, which are to:
- LEARN – aid knowledge transfer across people and groups through social media and weekly in-person sessions
- ENGAGE – help people to engage properly with ideas and each other, nurturing meaningful and open dialogue across groups.
- BELONG – cultivate a truly diverse community of passionate individuals.
To contact LtD please drop them a message through the “GET IN TOUCH” bar at the bottom of their homepage.