Why I don’t discuss politics on Facebook

Well, why would I?

Recently started getting this request from friends on Facebook to make comments private.

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You may have also noticed stories like this about friends (and relatives!) unfriending each other because of something that was posted that chafed their backside (most likely involving politics).  I’ve seen posts recently from friends that made me think a lot less of them, and frankly encouraged me to stay away from them.

We’ve reached a point where we can broadcast pretty much indiscriminately, but haven’t seemed to figure out that this also requires a comparable amount of discretion.  In the days where we knew where our messages were going, we also realized that any consequences would affect us directly, so we acted accordingly.  If I insult your wife, I get a punch in the nose.  Social media has created the ability to spew behind the protection of a computer screen with no apparent immediate personal danger – – so people often assume no accountability.  But these people fail to realize that the implications have taken a different shape, and that consequences now shift well beyond ourselves.  Because of the ability to also share on a mass scale, the potential impact of any message rises exponentially.  In some cases it can introduce negatives that didn’t need to be there – – and as we’ve recently seen, social media provides a platform for any nutjob to express their personal far-out positions, but whose rants become convenient cover for other extremists’ real, violent agendas.

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So why don’t I share political views on Facebook?  Well, what’s the point?

– I probably already know who you’re going to vote for (and vice versa) – and in most cases I really don’t care, so there’s no need for any more reminders

– I’m not going to change anyone’s mind

– Something that seems funny to me can be truly offensive to someone else.  The amount of juvenile and insulting commentary posted by supposedly educated people is staggering.

– I don’t even usually have original content – – attaching someone else’s rant does not show how clever I am (usually quite the opposite)

– I have some dear friends who have different points of view – – sometimes really dramatically different.  But I’d like to keep them as friends.  If and when it feels appropriate to discuss politics or religion or this season’s hem lengths, I’ll take it on with them personally.  Where they know where I stand, where I speak for myself, and where what I say considers the audience and the potential consequences.

As for puppies and sports and catching up with friends and lots of other things, I’m still all-in.

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