Political Fallout on Facebook

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As your Facebook news feed returns to posts about kid achievements, the latest television show and pictures of food, do you find yourself thinking about a friend’s previous political rant when you see their name come across your feed?  Has reading your friends’ political posts, rants and comments throughout this long political season changed your friend relationship?

Let me start off by saying that I strongly believe it is possible to disagree with my friends on politics, religion, and values yet still be friends.  True friends are people you can have a civil discussion with and agree to disagree without damaging your friendship.  But not everyone is a true friend and not everyone can agree to disagree on things we are passionate about.

It is my belief that we can and should talk about politics on Facebook, Twitter, in person or anywhere else we might discuss things important to us.  Many of us profess and discuss our faith on Facebook, so why not politics?  The important thing to remember is to treat others with respect when discussing anything sensitive or with passion.  I have some friends on Facebook with whom I couldn’t disagree more on religion or politics, but I sincerely appreciate seeing and reading their point of view.

However, when you see a political rant with name-calling or an ugly tone from a “friend” that is directed at someone who thinks like you, it can really sting.  The worst exchanges devolve into something hateful and personal from someone you really like.  The question becomes, do you let their comments on Facebook affect how you think or interact with them?  Do you defriend them online?  And sometimes, do you go so far as to defriend them in person?

For me, seeing some of that true ugliness directed towards me or to people who think like me does color my perspective of the person. Seeing someone post nasty stereotypes and attacking comments does make me think differently of my friend.  And when it is grossly inflammatory and repetitive, I will defriend them.

Sifting through your news feed now on Facebook, do you find yourself thinking differently about a person whose political rant attacked or assaulted you in some way?  Did the political season cause you to defriend someone on Facebook or in real life?

Copyright 2012 Lisa Jones

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About Author

Lisa Henley Jones is a former stay-at-home mom who discovered a new career as an online marketer/social media manager. She blogs at Of Sound Mind and Spirit with her sister, Shelly Kelly, about faith and family life. During the hot summers in Houston, Lisa can be found by the pool eating popsicles with her husband and three school-aged children.

5 Comments

  1. Jennifer Gladen on

    Great post Lisa! Something similar happened to me not about the election, but in my support of Chick Fila during the controversy. A Catholic “friend” from gradeschool who disagreed with my support of Chick FilA not only argued but her rude comment filled with horrendous name calling and bitterness caused me to block her and unfriend her because I knew I would always think of those hatefull things she said whenever I saw her on FB.

  2. This election really turned me on to the anti-Catholic ignorance and bigotry out there. I stopped following an old friend because I got fed up with their endless political diatribes. I found several others to be obnoxious. I’m not sure that I agree that Facebook is a good place for politics. For me, I prefer to keeping it pet and kid photos and some cooking and vacation updates.

  3. Taylor Gilfillan on

    Facebook has caused me to end one friendship when we differed on politics and it turned very personal. They were not really true friends it turns out so it was all for the better. I also eneded up engaging in a number of intense debates on ethics and government. I think too many people can’t debate without getting totally consumed with it and forget to love the person they disagree with and take it personally. Facebook can bring out the worse in people and I think a lot of us got burned out on it over the election. You can’t help but see people differently when they fail to draw false conclusions about you based on their own political bias.

  4. I understand what you are stating. Part of what I believe causes this is that it is so easy to write from a distance and not look into a person’s face or eyes. We have become ‘cold’ to each other and writing from a distance and not seeing the person makes that so easy. I’ve lost who I thought were friends based on my anti war beliefs when my son was in the war. It totally blew me away with those who attacked me for being insensitive to the cause – really? As you stated, true friends do not attack – they just accept you for your beliefs and who you are – as for the others – don’t clog up your life with them.

  5. [email protected] on

    Jennifer – I’d forgotten about the turmoil surrounding the support of Chick Fil A. My family had some retribution flung at us from other family members about our public online support of Chick Fil A. But, being family, we were able to talk about it in person and understand each other a bit better. It actually created a healing moment where we could get a few things out in the open and discuss them without anger and misunderstandings.

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