Politics v. Social Media

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Facebook is not the place for politics.  That is exactly how my political views on Facebook read.  People that know me very well find this funny, as I am very opinionated when it comes to Politics and can always hold my own in political debates.  But to me, Social Media is different.  I tell myself to stay far away from discussing Politics on all Social Media Platforms.  Since the heat of this coming election began circulating on Facebook and Twitter, I have personally had to take a small hiatus from these sites.  I used to mindlessly scroll down my NewsFeeds, but with the endless influx since July of Memes, Articles and paragraph ramblings of people’s opinions, I have had to limit this for my own sanity.  Truly what bothers me the most is not that people are posting their opinions, it is that they are posting them and thinking they are going to be revolutionary and change other’s opinions, or even just thinking they are right and everyone else is merely wrong.

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I went to Politics camp at Georgetown University ever since 8th grade, so if I were to say I did not have my own strong personal political views I would by lying.  I do, but I feel I do not need to ornately state them in a novel for all my friends, family and followers to see.  This will not change their views and will not make them like me any better, if anything seeing it would maybe make them want to unfollow me, or even question being friends with me altogether, who knows.  With this, I do know that not everyone out there has their clear opinions and are not fully associated with one candidate or one party.  I feel instead of perusing Social Media Newsfeeds to get information on who to vote for, people should educate themselves about hearing live arguments from opposing sides in debates, investigating historical references, taking their own morals in account and then maybe they will be sound enough to choose a side.

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Don’t get me wrong, Social media is a wonderful platform to learn on, but like anything, it is a product of the World Wide Web, and there is so much falsified information and so many opportunities for miscommunication.  People may feel they are learning the truth on a candidate or accurate history on a political party, but it could be something that a friend of theirs just made up or exaggerated.  I fully understand that there are people that use social media to share their voice, and do not get me wrong I respect that.  But as far as the touchy subject of politics goes, social media I feel heightens incorrect notions and does not provide a healthy and positive environment for political discussion.

Again, I really do understand that there are people who genuinely use social media to assert their positions, and who genuinely feel they are doing everyone a service in educating them in hopes of them switching to their views.  But in all truthfulness I ask these people to please stop.  Instead of wanting to read more from them their followers will isolate them and truly become turned off.  So I leave you all with this question, Politics and Social Media, do they mix for you?

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6 comments

  1. Interesting perspective. I actually find myself over-self-monitoring on FB for these types of things. I’m very careful NOT to include anything which may be interpreted politically, because I just don’t want the headache. So not only is FB no place for politics, I find myself self-censoring any opinions, which isn’t a great reaction, either.

  2. emilypetroni14 · ·

    I completely agree, and often end up un-following friends on Facebook because of their highly political posts, especially if they are ones I don’t agree with. I’ve always said it would be great if there was just a platform for political debates so that people don’t fell the need to post their opinions on FB. I’m not as surprised to see it on Twitter because I go there more for news, and I definitely do not want to see political posts on Instagram – that is my happy place.

  3. I think this is a point that many people would agree with – they’re not trying to get their political voices put out there on social media. However, like Professor Kane alludes to, there is so much these days that can become politicized. I think social media can be a powerful tool to get a message across to a large viewership very quickly – take a look at both our presidential candidates’ Twitter follower base and some of replies people have if you don’t believe me. I personally do my best to not any new status updates on Facebook at all for the reasons you outlined, but I do have some friends who are very passionate about what they believe in. Some people, if they are extremely educated about certain topics, should use their knowledge to disseminate correct information. That would be an extremely small portion of the population though, if I had to make a bet. Thanks for sharing!

  4. I think It is an interesting post, but I need to disagree completely. It is true that there is an over-saturation on electoral years of useless political opinions, but even in that case, I think is not a bad thing.
    Facebook and politics are a mixture that has some downsides, that’s true. Radicalization might be one of them for sure. But this is, in my opinion, a minimal downside. On the other hand you have the potentiality of Facebook as a source of creating political movement. Leaving behind the paper that Facebook did in the Arab Spring, witch in my opinion is already an argument by itself. I will give examples on american basis. In the last elections, in the U.S, the participation rate was below the 58% of the potential voters, a very very low participation rate compared to other developed democracies.
    This means that nearly a half of the eligible population of the U.S has not had a “real political choice”. I am not american, and I know there is many reasons for this absence of voting, but I am sure nonetheless that a big share of it is problem is a lack of political mobilization. For us, highly educated individuals, the posts on Facebook are not very useful, since we are most likely to have a well formed political opinion. But for that 42% of the population, it might be the game changer.
    In is true that this mobilization can be uninformed, or susceptible to populism but at the end is an early mobilization, and possibly the root of a deeper and more sustainable and argued opinion.
    Finally, using your own data. You say that 36% of people change its mind thanks to the political posts. This means that there is a real effect, even though is not very strong, of this channels and the only cost it has is that the people that are not interested or are annoyed by it (like me) need to scroll a bit more down to find something different.

  5. dabettervetter · ·

    I feel overwhelmed in a similar way you do about politics on Facebook. However, I actually greatly despise politics and it is interesting how we on opposite sides of the spectrum are exhausted by the same thing. I think that is a reflection of the political world we live in where we can never seem to find a happy middle group of opinions. I actually wrote my blog about how the actual social media sites are promoting voting and I find it refreshing that no one is choosing a side, but simply pushing us to exercise our voting muscles.

  6. I would agree that the amount of presidential election content on my newsfeed is overwhelming. But this is because I have liked a couple of news pages that are posting videos constantly. From them, however, I have become for knowledgable and up to date on what’s happening and being discussed at the moment. I don’t have many friends on Facebook trying to assert their views on to me. Rather, they are sharing something they thought was important. I do have one family friend that treats Facebook like a Twitter account and constantly says how we need change and politics is doomed but I see this more as an ignorant use of Facebook and not something millennials do as much.

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