While on Facebook I saw a friend had posted a political video. I watched the video and thought, wow, this is really great information. So, I shared the video and posted why I thought it was worth watching. An hour later I started to have regrets. I had justified to myself that the post was somewhat non-partisan, more issue based, but I knew in my gut it was still a political post. I also know and teach that sharing or talking politics online or off is bad news. So, I deleted the post.
I’m not going to say this is the first time I’ve posted something political on Facebook. Oh, no, I’ve done this one or two other times and also eventually came to my senses and deleted the post. This etiquette consultant is not perfect. Not by a long shot.
Why do I do it when I know it’s wrong? Because I get caught up in the emotion of the subject – whether that’s excitement or anger. And, then after the emotion has faded my head takes over and reminds me what an imprudent move it is.
I try to remember how I feel when someone posts something political. I sometimes get upset, and if it’s ongoing, it can change my opinion of this person for the worse. I don’t want to be barraged with political messages in my social network, so I remind myself others probably don’t either.
Is it ever OK to post political messages on your social media sites? Yes, if the following conditions apply.
1. You know for a fact that every single one of your friends shares the same political beliefs you do and don’t mind seeing political posts.
2. Your privacy settings are set so that only your friends, not even your friends’ friends, can see your posts.
3. You don’t give potential employers your Facebook password.
Or alternatively, forget conditions 1 through 3 if this situation applies:
You don’t care if you might lose a friend, a job or a client by posting political statements. Or you’re in the business of politics.
As far as I know I haven’t lost any friends or clients because of my errant ways but, who knows, I might not be aware of it. But, having written this post, and examined why I have posted political posts, I do believe I will never do it again. And, if you, my dear readers, see that I do, please call me out. Yes, sometimes the etiquette consultant needs etiquette lessons.
How about you? Have you posted political messages online? How do you feel when others post such topics?