If you’ve been under a rock for the past couple of years, you may be unaware of a little app known as Timehop. Well, let me introduce you to your very own social media time machine. Timehop pulls up posts you wrote on this day 1, 2, 3, etc. years ago from multiple social media platforms. It’s a fun app that allows you license to pointlessly share baby photos of your kids, or that really good sandwich you posted about two years ago. Yes, normally I really love Timehop, and when the photo doesn’t load at and it says “failed to reach 88 miles per hour” I giggle every time. But lately, it’s been pulling up my posts from four years ago that I’d sooner forget.
Ah yes, the damn political posts.
You know those posts. It’s in the heat of controversy, and you just have to get online and express your support/rage. After all, your opinion is right, and once you tell everyone what you think, they will automatically agree with you and change their uneducated and frankly incorrect stance. You hit send, and immediately the support/backlash begins. You praise your supporters, lambaste your critics, and maybe go to bed and forget about it.
Timehop remembers though.
It reminds you of the ridiculous declarations you made in the heat of an argument that never came to fruition. No, the world didn’t end if this candidate was elected/re-elected, no, you never did move to Canada in protest (I never posted this btw, but plenty of my friends did in 2012. They still live in the good ol’ USA), and no, the economy didn’t crash down. And you may not even remember the thing that got you so fired up four years ago. “Binders full of women” anyone? (I jest, we all remember that gem).
So yes, posting political diatribes on Facebook may not be the best way to win friends and influence others, but sometimes, you just got to say what you’re thinking. So, here are some tips about posting politics online without pissing a lot of people off. Remember, having people immediately defriend you doesn’t get them to appreciate your point-of-view.
Tip 1: NEVER post an ultimatum
“If _____________ gets elected, I will do_____________”. Be honest with yourself, right here, right now; you’re not actually going to move out of the country in protest of an election, or go on a hunger strike, or stop doing pretty much anything you were doing before the election results. Do you have any idea how difficult it is to move to another country? I do, I’ve lived in three, and two of those were government posts. And I’ve never been on a hunger strike, never plan on being one, but if I do, it sure won’t be over an election. So unless you’re willing to follow-up your whining with some actual visa applications, don’t say this. People will enjoy reminding you you should be in Canada, Mexico, or Lichtenstein right now, myself included.
Tip 2: DON’T delete comments of people who don’t agree with your point-of-view
If you post something political, you should expect people to disagree. After all, you posted something that in its very nature is decisive on a public forum. Saying that I’ll delete your comment is the Facebook equivalent of sticking your fingers in your ears and screaming “nah nah nah” at the top of your lungs. If you handle political debates this way in person, well, by all means, delete away. But if the person is being respectful but sharing an opposing opinion, you have a debate-etiquette duty to listen to them. After all, you may learn something the delete feature cannot teach you.
Tip 3: DON’T post politics while drinking
This is one of those duh moments, but it needs to be said. You can use this tip in the broader “don’t post while drinking” but especially avoid political debates. You likely will end up arguing from a drunken emotional state, and consequently look like an idiot. Wait to you sober up. You’ll thank me in the morning.
Tip 4: DO verify your facts
This is common sense; if you’re posting online, be prepared to source it with something reputable, like a decent news source. This will save you from some pretty heavy embarrassment down the road. In fact, I wish more politicians bothered with this little tip.
Tip 5: DO remember your political rant will likely accomplish nothing
I’m not saying this is a bad thing, but let’s get real here; you’re musings on the political climate here will only gain likes from you’re supporters and attacks from your foes. You’re likely not changing hearts and minds for most, but if you keep it informative, polite, and true, you may turn a few heads. And wasn’t that the point of your post anyway?
So let the political banter on social media begin! And remember, Timehop is watching, and recording.