How to Survive This Election Season Online

This year’s election, like all those that have come before, is going to be contentious. Many of the people you know and care about are going to get caught up in the fervor. Many overzealous folks are going to do battle online, sharing content and arguing in the comments sections of what is shared.

Most political posts you see will not be in support of a candidate. Instead, they will generally be an attack on the candidate the person posting opposes. The posts will be entertaining, they will be angry, and some of them will even be true.

You, however, do not have to allow yourself to get caught up in all of this. You can do better. Here are 6 reasons not to get political on social media during this election cycle, and 3 occasions when you should.

  1. There is no way that you are changing anyone’s mind with a post. Just like no one else’s social media posts have ever changed your mind. You have the right to express yourself however you choose, but you have better and more valuable contributions to make.
  2. You are suggesting that more than half of the people you know are unintelligent or bad people for holding political beliefs that are different from yours. Many of these same people feel the same way about you because of your politics. Neither of you are correct. It’s never healthy to assume bad intentions.
  3. Much of what you share is divisive, and it alienates your friends, family, and community members. Politicians have long known how to intentionally divide people in order to shore up their own support and win elections. They don’t need your help dividing us from one another; they’re already doing enough damage without your help.
  4. The social channels can help you get a job. Or they can prevent you from getting one. Maybe you would never want to work for a “Republican,” “Democrat,” or “Libertarian,” anyway. But there is no way that your political posts are going to make a good impression. You have much more to offer.
  5. You are leaving the largest wake of negativity and angry screeds behind you so that when anyone should happen upon your social media presence you may look small, petty, angry, and immature. For what value do you really want to be known? Snark isn’t a value; it’s just attention.
  6. Most politicians would have you believe that they are working hard for things that you believe your government should do, and I am sure there are many who are trying. But there are just as many people outside of government who are doing even more to improve lives, including religious organizations, community organizations, all sorts of charities, and entrepreneurs (read: small businesspersons) who could use your attention and support.

The best way to survive this political season online is to avoid engaging in the negative back and forth on the social channels. There are, however, a few good reasons to publish political posts.

  1. You are a political candidate running for office with a positive message.
  2. You work for a political candidate or someone who is running for office, and you want to share their positive message.
  3. You have something to say in support of a candidate you are supporting for political office during in election cycle.

The best way for you to have an impact on any election is to vote. That is the only thing you can do that will be counted. You gain nothing by being negative.

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