I'd really love to post funny memes and articles on Facebook supporting my preferred presidential candidate. But, I don't want to be one of those people who post about politics constantly on their newsfeed. My cousin supports the other side and I had to unfollow him because I found the stuff he shared so upsetting. However, my silence feels like support for a certain frothy-haired, ill-tempered candidate, which I'm also not comfortable with. Should I just say "fuck it" and post what I want or should I refrain? I'm torn!
You are not a bad person for resisting the urge to turn your Facebook page into one giant political bumper sticker.
I understand why people feel the need to share articles they're passionate about. You want your friends to enjoy and find value in the same stories and articles you do. But, let's be honest: Facebook's newsfeed isn't the best place to have nuanced political conversations. It's designed for people who agree with you and enjoy your content. That's what all those thumb's ups and heart icons are for: quick, easy, positive interactions. It's not designed for getting into deep political discussions with your second cousin.
When you talk with someone face-to-face, you have physical cues -- nodding, leaning forward, scrunching a nose, crossing one's arms -- to suss out whether it's a productive discussion. But the internet strips those clues away. The internet is great for a lot of things -- Oscar Isaac gifs, old Triumph the Insult Comic Dog videos, Westworld fan theories on Reddit -- but it's difficult to convey tone. That's why it feels so hostile to post an article you agree with and see it attacked by people with different views in the comments.
Of course if you feel you absolutely must share something, you could always target the message to a specific group of friends in your privacy settings. Yes, you're basically preaching to the choir, but what's the alternative? Exchanging harsh words with an acquaintance from high school who's in the mood to lash out? If you'd rather avoid that kind of interaction, then what other choice to you have? You can unfriend everyone who doesn't share your political views, or target your message to a select group of sympathetic buddies.
Maybe there's a secret Facebook group you can join (or create!) where you share these articles and memes with other like-minded people. Or, if you must share something, go old school and email your favorite articles to a select group of friends. Or maybe explore other social media platforms where you can let your political flag fly without attracting boneheads. Read and share your favorite articles and memes on Twitter. Or create a Tumblr blog where you can post all those articles and memes you want to share.
It's a highly personal decision, so do what feels right. In the old days, you'd have to call your aunt on the telephone to hear her thoughts on politics. Now you just log into an app and her nutty thoughts are pushed in front of your face. Of course it feels weird!
There isn't an elegant, consequence-free solution to posting political content without limiting your audience. So no, you are not a bad person if you keep quiet about your political views because Facebook isn't the best medium for this kind of interaction for all the reasons I listed.
Does this answer still not sit well? Are you still unsure? Maybe it feels like you aren't being true to yourself. But Facebook isn't your true self; it's a curated portal into specific parts of your world. It's not you. It will never be you. Once you shift your expectation about what Facebook is, then maybe the answer will come easier to you.
What do you guys think? Should people feel free to post whatever they want on their pages or should they keep political stuff to a minimum? Tell me in the comments.