the intersection of social media and sharing political opinions
October 3, 2012 11:10 AM Subscribe
I Want To Talk About Politics On Facebook vs. Get Out Of My Facebook, Politics: two arguments for and against using social media to share political opinions (presented on Thought Catalog)
From the first piece ("for"):
From the first piece ("for"):
This is why the whole grand exasperation with the discussion of politics on Facebook absolutely baffles me. People telling others to shut up about their political views on Facebook are legislating how others use the service, yeah. Abstain from the dialogue or hide it if you’re not interested, but handing out dictums through image macros or impassioned essays is weird, dude.From the second piece ("against"):
It’s especially weird given that we’re all self-governed in our use of this platform — it is all voluntary. And yet I’m supposed to allow access to myself, my whims, the pictures of me hugging my friends and pets, my often-personal interactions with my real-world friends, my boyfriend, whatever, to people who are so offended by my values that they don’t even want me to talk about them in my own domain?
Really, dude? You’re “friends” with someone such that you desire this voyeuristic access to their life, or assume they should desire to see yours — yet you disagree so deeply with them expressing their feelings on issues of national and international concern that you want them to shut up? If their views on core human issues stand in such offensive polarity to yours, why are you going to be “friends”?
It’s considered impolite to discuss controversial issues in a casual public setting without invitation. You wouldn’t attend a professional event or a birthday party and begin a debate, it’s true. But social media is designed as an individualist platform where people are allowed to represent themselves for an audience of presumed allies, and you don’t get to tell them how to do it...
“Facebook is the perfect platform for constructive political discourse,” said no one ever. Like, EVER. Even Taylor Swift agrees. But really, the only political thinking Facebook was made for is the kind you do when wondering whether or not to de-friend someone. The only thing I really want to know from your Facebook is who you’re dating, where you went to school, and whether or not you got fat. I’m not interested in your paraphrased version of some article you read in The Atlantic last week… because Facebook is just not the place for it.
...“Liking” a political figure or someone’s comment is not the same as voting or forming an opinion about something like healthcare in real life. Facebook was made for broadcasting and disseminating likes and generalities… not discussing them at length. Everything from the small size of the status box to the caption under your photos is meant for brevity. Facebook is meant for generalities, not specifics. And unfortunately, politics is nothing but messy specifics. Facebook just isn’t the place to spout long-winded arguments and opinions. Logistically, it’s almost a misuse of the site, and aesthetically, it just looks bad to the eyeballs.
In this same respect, Facebook reduces peoples’ opinions to dichotomies. Left or Right. Liberal or Conservative. Care or Don’t Care. With such limited space, it’s difficult NOT to sound politically extreme on Facebook. And to me, this is dangerous. Because, in real life, is anyone really 100% Left or Right? I think people and ideas are too dynamic. Not that we should all become moderates, or that I want to make a statement about party politics, but in terms of Facebook, this extremism makes it difficult to respect others’ opinions (especially those on the opposite end of the spectrum). Rather than emphasizing commonalities, I think Facebook highlights our differences with very little room for real conversation and explanation. And this makes it hard to have the kind of discussions necessary for positive change and improvement.
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