Facebook and Political Rants… Why You Should Not!!

Facebook and political rants election 2012If you are using Facebook to constantly barrage people with your political (or religious) opinions and rants, you are losing credibility!

This is social media’s first true presidential election cycle. It has been interesting to watch.

Recently I “un-friended” 6 people on Facebook due to the sheer quantity of unhelpful or overtly ranty political posts.

If we are keeping count, 4 were liberal, 2 were conservative but it has nothing to do with my personal convictions or positions on issues. It is a question of sheer volume over substance. I already have my sources of political input and commentary.. I promise you, your other “friends” and I did not “friend” you or anyone else to listen to or watch your often inflammatory comments.

I had spoken to two of them in the weeks prior about their use of social media – it is part of what I do and at various times, all 6 have sought my advice and input. I did not let them know of this action. It would result in conversations that are less than helpful and it is highly unlikely to convince them to change their posting habits.

Unless you are a political pundit and people connect with you for that reason, your posts are mostly annoying noise! You are detracting from the online experience of others.

I tend to be keep politics close to the cuff and rarely discuss it in an online forum. It isn’t that I do not have strong opinions.. I do! I am not against endorsing a given candidate, position, or policy. It is that online discussions typically become little more than a contest of exchanging rhetoric, carefully filtered information, and insults.

I often say, politics and religion are best discussed over wine or coffee – and one on one. Mobs are typically ugly and rarely result in meaningful discussion (although discussion is rarely sought in these cases).

And rarely, as in NEVER, does it result in people switching sides.

I speak to professional groups, my coaching clients, and individuals about “Social Media Suicide” and who you CANNOT be online. The “political ranter” is one of those people.

What is Social Media? Business? Friends? Acquaintances?

Why do people use social networks? Typically, it is to connect with friends and friends of friends. For others, the use is primarily as a business promotion/connection tool. For most, it falls somewhere in between the two.

This means that, unless people are following you or your page (there is the hint) as a pundit of a given topic, the ongoing stream of political, moral, or religious output is clumsy at best, annoying and offensive at worst.

It is the equivalent of being at a social or business function (depending upon how you use social media) and every time someone wishes to speak with you, you start telling them about how evil __________ (fill the blank with your candidate, cause, position, organization, etc.).

Most sane people wouldn’t do this. Those who did, would rarely be invited back to the party.

Hint explained: If you wish to be a political pundit, start a page and let people know. You will find out very quickly how many people are interested in your opinion on the subject.

Censorship? NOT!!!

I’m not indicating, by any means, that you cannot do this. Just that to do so is foolish. In fact, you are likely working against your cause, actively polarizing those who disagree with you.

You are allowed to post almost anything on your social network. But there is (or should be) a distinction between what is allowed and what is practiced. IE: I’m allowed to drink myself into a drunken stupor each night, but I don’t practice that.

Also, I don’t mind, nor is it problematic, to post a political opinion or position from time to time. It is a problem when it starts to characterize who you are online! One “friend” had post 11 articles or highly polarized and inflammatory images in less than 40 minutes. That is similar to someone walking into the party or business function alluded to above and shouting in people’s faces.

So, again, rant, post, share, at your own risks. You lose credibility – except within your own self-centered group of shared ideology where you become a champion of sorts. If that is your goal, maintain your focus!

4 thoughts on “Facebook and Political Rants… Why You Should Not!!

  1. Thanks Matt…. Surelly you’d have a thing or two to say about this… In ways, I agree… In other ways…. when stakes are the highest ever, broadcasting serves….

    • Actually, I couldn’t disagree more.. I don’t mind the occasional opinion from anyone. However, if I want to follow a constant barrage of opinion, I’ll do so via RSS or by subscribing to such a service (I wouldn’t but such things do exist. It should be noted by any individual or business that that is what they do. When I connect with someone on Facebook, I view it as either a friendship/acquaintance, or a business/acquaintance.

      If I walked into someone’s home or business and was met with an unending stream of political diatribe, inappropriate sexual advances, or anything else besides what the nature of that relationship is, I would leave. It is inappropriate for the setting.

      If people wish to utilize social media as a constant stream of their opinion, they should setup a page for that purpose and allow people the choice to follow or not.. Otherwise it is a rather rude bait and switch and detracts crudely from the relationship and the medium (social media).

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