The 2019 elections are coming up and you are preparing to turn your Facebook feed into a “House of Cards”ish political drama.
There are a shit ton of reasons why you shouldn’t post your political views on facebook but, let’s first discuss few reasons why you would want to post them.
1] You want to help your friends make a better voting decision.
If this is really the reason, you probably are the most innocent person in the world. Please comment below, I would love to know you better.
If you are a normal human being, you know people aren’t exactly rational while making voting decisions. People don’t vote for someone because of their position on fiscal policy or approach towards tackling terrorism. People will vote for someone simply because they like his/her face. (I am not even making this up. Check this out.)
Also, there is a polarising effect of Facebook feed algorithms. You see, Facebook makes more money, the more time you spend on their site. And you won’t keep refreshing your facebook feed if you start seeing things you don’t like.
That’s why facebook actively tweaks its algorithms such that you are only shown content that you like. If you think candidate X is great and share a post boosting his fiscal discipline in the last term, your friends who already like him are more likely to see the post. People who don’t like X much won’t see it. This is the polarising effect of Facebook. The feed reinforces your views in an effort to make you “like” more stuff you see in your feed.
So, No. Your Facebook posts are probably not helping anyone make a better decision.
2] You want to have a discussion on a political issue.
It is true that Facebook is probably the best way to reach multiple friends at once over the internet, and a Facebook post and comment system is supposed to be the digital equivalent of a group sitting around a table and having a chat but, that’s not what really happens.
Facebook comments are not six people sitting around a table having a discussion while sipping tea. It is six people holding megaphones screaming at each other while about 100 of their friends are sitting around getting annoyed.
Besides, no one would ever change their opinion in a Facebook debate. There is no social pressure to do so. In an actual group conversation, you have social pressure to respond to new arguments that are being developed. You have to provide a better argument or change your position.
On Facebook, you don’t have that kind of social pressure. First, the argument is not happening in real time. A real discussion that happens in 10 minutes will take a few hours of commenting to develop on Facebook. Second, any of the participants can just disengage with the conversation whenever he wants.
So, a discussion on a Facebook post is inefficient compared to physical conversations, cannot convey your point the way you want and does not create enough social pressure for someone to actually change their views.
3] You just want to rub it in their face,
You support the X party and you know some of your “Facebook friends” are stupid enough to support the rival Y party. You know you are right. You know you are smart. You know those “Facebook friends” hate X fanatically. But today is your day. Today the Y party leader messed up speech on national television, or the juiciest meme about his latest trip to southern India came up on the Internet and you have a smirk on your face as you click “share now”.
You think these “Facebook friends” are keeping quiet since you shared that meme. They are embarrassed and keeping to themselves. Not really. The Facebook polarisation is at play here again. Most of these friends didn’t really see your post. The only people who saw it are the ones on your team, they already support the X party.
This is like a bunch of Barcelona FC fans arguing among themselves how stupid Real Madrid team is. There is no point to the argument. You all already have the same opinion.
Watch this video.
4] You want attention.
Well, of all the reasons listed here, this probably is the most honest one and for a good reason. Almost everything we do on social media is to seek attention and posting something political is a sure fire way to get it. I myself have done some stupid things to get attention on the internet(including posting this blog).
But, using politics to satisfy your craving for attention is a bit like using cocaine. It creates a great high and is very addictive but you can very easily overdose. If you are not careful, you can involuntarily become part of a greater political brawl that might even have consequences in your real life.
Oh yeah, and the reason you shouldn’t post political stuff? It’s fucking annoying. My feed (which is supposed to be populated with memes) gets all messy and disorganized and some of those political posts just make me sad.
- Don’t post political stuff on social media.
- Don’t comment on other’s posts even if you have just the right witty comeback.
- Don’t even ‘like’ anything political.
- Tell the algorithmic overlords you don’t want to see politics on facebook.
- Be happy.
I am pretty sure I will break some of these rules (especially the last one) once in a while, forgive me for that. And let’s pray and act towards a peaceful internet this election season.