Let’s talk about politics. The 2016 election is right around the corner which means your Facebook page is about to become inundated with the political opinions of far more people than you’d like. Because of the work I do for clients and myself on social media, I honestly avoid talking about politics or entering into any conversation that would turn into such.
And to put it frankly, I grew up traveling between the west coast and east coast, went to college in the Deep South and moved to the Pacific Northwest after graduation. In short–my network of friends and colleagues is made up of those with extremely different opinions from each other. I find it’s best just to avoid the topic!
Unfortunately, The Beau loves nothing more than to debate politics so I feel as though there are times when I do nothing but debate. Luckily the debates are contained within my family, and although The Beau and I are often on the opposite sides of the spectrum, the conversation remains a friendly one, most of the time!
Whether it’s in-person or online, if you choose to talk about politics, do so knowing that what you say about politics represents who you are and your personal beliefs. I am not comfortable sharing that side of myself online, but that is not the case for many. This is perfectly acceptable, as long as you are willing to keep an open-mind about the feedback you may or may not receive about what you share.
Believe me, there are many thoughts I would like to share, but by restraining my comments I am taking the high road. Some people enjoy sparking debate by instigating an argument, or seem to be under the assumption that everyone in their network must have the same thought. By not commenting or publishing my thoughts on politics I am taking the high road for I know that it would offend or create conflict.
My point is this: If you’re going to use Facebook as a platform to force your opinion of marriage equality, gun control or women’s rights on the news feed of those you know both well and not-so-well, then you need to be willing to deal with the consequences.
- Write intelligently. If you’re going to talk about why you do or do not love Trump, then make sure you use proper grammar, sentence structure and language. Otherwise people will judge how you wrote, just as much as what you wrote.
- No name calling. I don’t care what side of the political spectrum you side with–do not name call. Doing so only makes you a bully.
- Space out your messaging. If you are someone who has lots to say about politics on Facebook, use the general social media marketing rule–space out the type of content you’re sharing and the message. Do not post 10 messages all on the same issue. If you post non-political messages just as often, and I hope that you do, be sure to mix it up so you are not flooding the news feed of your Facebook friends with the same message over and over.
- Respond politely. If you post a political message, be polite when responding to those who comment on your post. For instance, do not post a message about women’s rights and then get offended when the wife of your friend comments on your post, thus resulting in you bashing her comment on Facebook and deleting her as a Facebook friend. Not only did you open yourself up to such an end result by posting your opinion in the first place, but you most likely left a lasting impression that will later be used on the blog of said wife. Whoops.
- Keep your audience in mind. This is about as blunt and honest as I can be. I am pretty liberal, but I have many, many friends who are just as liberal and just as many who are very, very conservative. Therefore, if I’m going to post a political message on Facebook, I am not going to post one that is a hot topic for both sides of the spectrum–i.e. gun control, reproductive rights or marriage equality. If I do share something political, it will most likely deal with the local political scene in my county, taxes or healthcare. There are some issues that are just too personal to share and those issues are often part of our core belief system–something that should not be debated on social media.