I’ve started to drastically reduce my political talk on Facebook. It’s not worth it to keep sharing articles. I used to think it was some sort of act of patriotism to share the knowledge I gleaned from reading another article on the awfulness of Trump or how Obama really is awesome, but it’s not.
Deep down I think it’s kind of egotistical exercise needed to feel validated. I’ve done it too! When I post some partisan article, I don’t do it to share knowledge with my friends or family. I’d like to think that’s why I do it, but it’s really all for the likes. The dopamine rush from getting validated by your friends is great, but it’s so deceiving.
Sharing political stuff on Facebook isn’t healthy for the following reasons.
- The people who are seeing the post probably agree with you. If you’re like me, you’ve probably set your filters to block articles you disagree with from coming across your news feed. You probably have unfollowed your Uncle Tommy who posts NRA memes. You probably only like news outlets you agree with. And Facebook wants you to keep browsing, so filtering out stuff that makes you angry is in the company’s best interest. And that’s fine! I really don’t want my blood pressure raised while I’m on Facebook. But don’t pretend like you’re some above-the-fray commentator who will be the one to bridge the divide between liberals and conservatives. You’re not.
I do enjoy articles shared by friends, but they have to either 1) Make me laugh 2) Make me tear up 3) Or make me thoughtfully reexamine my beliefs. (Political stores rarely do those things.)
- Facebook is not a good medium to convince someone to vote for your party, it’s a good medium to feel validated. As my cousin is fond of saying, “Nobody changed their political beliefs because of Facebook.” When it comes to partisan politics, chances are you’re not looking for articles to be informed. You’re looking for articles to validate your opinion.
- If you’re concerned about Donald Trump and just NEED to share another article on how awful he is, do it in a more thoughtful way. I’ve been emailing with a friend who I thought held more stereotypically conservative beliefs. He does, but it’s so much more complex than that. If Donald Trump has as much support as the polls says he does, there have to be some really smart people who have good reasons to support him. I don’t know those reasons. It’s pretty much the height of liberal arrogance to think that anyone who is not voting for a progressive candidate is a friggin idiot. Don’t do this. If you want to know how someone could vote for Donald Trump, just ask. But come at it viewing the other person as an intelligent and thoughtful person, chances are you’re probably going to get a thoughtful, intelligent answer in return.
- You don’t have to post anything. You don’t have to chime in on the debates. You don’t have to share the news article. You don’t even have to be on Facebook. It’s ok to log off. It’s ok to not say anything. I will not think less of you if your feed is devoid of political chatter. (I’ll probably think more of you, actually.) It’s ok to go enjoy life before the election. It’s ok to spend time with your family in total ignorance of the political fray. October is a great month, go out and enjoy it.
- Just don’t forget to vote.