It’s difficult to go anywhere without someone confiding their frustration with the way a handful of their friends are carrying on with rants and raves on Facebook.
Perhaps they assume everyone in their circle agrees with their political sentiments, or they simply don’t care and are voicing their opinion in a less than tactful manner. Facebook and other social media sites give users a prime opportunity to share information, including their feelings on the 2016 presidential campaign. But, there is a protocol when it comes to posting your thoughts on social media.
If the attempt is to influence others, aggressive political shaming can be disruptive, destructive and ultimately ineffective when splashing your views all over your timeline. It has the potential to leave a lasting impression long after the president has been sworn in and life has returned to business as usual. Expressing a respectful opinion is a constitutional right, but irking your friends, colleagues and potentially your boss with tirades could be the kiss of death to a valued relationship. I have been asked countless times if they should feel guilty for unfriending someone on Facebook over inappropriate comments. My answer is: “You have options.”
Much like oversharing baby pictures and too many selfies, (same smile, different location), you may consider hiding the posts rather than unfriending someone you ordinarily like, under most circumstances. On the other hand, if you have seen a side of someone you would rather forget, you have my blessing to “weed your feed!” For that matter, not only should you do a political cleanup, but an overall overhaul of those you can’t remember, or would like to forget temporarily, or forever.
Incivility is not limited to politics, but thankfully, you can also find kind and considerate people almost everywhere you look. There is just something about social media that gives others a platform where their confidence soars, and not necessarily in the right direction. But, there is something you can do. You have a right to turn their anger off. If you are uncomfortable with the exchange of a close friend or family member, give them a call and a forewarning. Diplomatically explain your concern. On the other hand, if you would prefer to quietly tune them out, you get to choose your volume control. Hide, delete, ignore… whatever you feel is best in order to minimize the toxic rhetoric.
A message will be better received when the words are not littered with slurs and jabs!
For more information on talking politics, I share my thoughts on how to communicate with a spouse who has a different political view via Thrillist. When attending your next social event, read my tips on how to engage with others via The Salonniere.