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
About the Author
Lisa Henley Jones is a wife, mom, native Texan, and parish communications director. She enjoys reading, walking, going on date nights, and cheering on her kids in their activities. As a social media consultant, Lisa teaches Catholic parishes to engage, inspire, and evangelize on social media. Find her blog at Of Sound Mind & Spirit and her social media course at Parish Social Media.