11 Apr How to Discuss Politics on Social Media as a Business Owner (or as a Reasonable Person)
How many minds have you changed in the comments section on Facebook today?
I’m sure I’m not the only one that is 100% tired of the back & forth bickering on my Facebook feed. No matter what political affiliation, people are being attacked for their beliefs on a post by post basis. Wives of politicians are being attacked, lifelong friendships are being destroyed and family members are disowning their loved ones because their political beliefs don’t perfectly align.
And as a small business owner, it’s difficult, if not impossible to walk the line of politics without ‘offending’ half of your audience with any given point of view. Saying the wrong thing (even though you feel it’s the right thing) can not only cost you time spent arguing your point online, it can cost you business.
It’s too easy to have these debates online
Rarely do I come across a political conversation on Facebook and it’s 100% civil. Name calling & finger pointing are more prevalent in these comment sections than facts or well thought out opinions. Yet, I don’t see the same level of insensitivity and name calling when these discussions take place with the same people at a coffee shop or at the dinner table.
The level of anonymity and detachment from online commenting vs, real-life conversations is a big problem. If you saw your best friend having a discussion with someone at a restaurant, would you come over to the table and attack the other person for what they were saying? I’m fairly certain you wouldn’t. You don’t walk down the street, angrily interjecting yourself into discussions calling people you’ve never met awful names – so don’t do it online.
Most of the posts I see end up preaching to the choir or dividing/starting fights. Neither of these things are helpful to the cause, and they’re not changing any minds! If you want to have a discussion about something political, have it offline. It’s going to be more civil, more realistic & hopefully more productive.
Walk the fine line or don’t walk at all
If you feel the political winds aren’t in your favor, there are probably some local & national organizations that feel the same way.
With any shift in power, there are going to be groups of people and organizations that will need more private help. You can use your online reach for good by promoting those who need help. Donate your time and maybe even donate your money.
The best part about going at things this way is that you don’t need to politicize your good deeds. You can do them, you can promote them (if you want) and you can help real people in need. Fighting with your Aunt Betty about an article you read online doesn’t help anyone, except the advertisers of the source.
Positivity > negativity
Spending too much time on social media is bad for your health. You can see the anxiety in some of your friends words as they spend all day posting articles, commenting on others. This online behavior can continue increasing unhappiness & anxiety offline.
Social media has turned into a big network of complaining. Chock full of shaming people for their actions, words or beliefs. It’s hard to believe, but you can disagree with a person or organization without letting the world know about it. You can choose to not support a brand’s beliefs without organizing a full-world boycott.
Like it or not, we live in a capitalist society, where your dollars ultimately do the talking. If you don’t like what a CEO said about the current administration – don’t buy their socks. Or better yet, don’t be the CEO making bold stances on politics, just talk about how comfy you can make my socks.