Last week we talked about social networking, networking in general and the all-important networking rule: karma and the related Golden Rule.
Here, I want to talk about something obvious, to me anyway:
American Politics: You’re Doing it Wrong
Political commentary is a big problem with social media today, and this problem directly relates to professionalism. As in the lack thereof.
Where do people fail with social media and politics?
Blogs: For the most part, blogging is good. People seem to grok their blogs are forever, and thus avoid pissing off segments of your social network.
Facebook: Facebook is rife with unprofessional political commentary disguised as “my personal view.” There are also many people who link to bad things.
Twitter: You would think that Twitter, with its 140-character limit would be a little better than Facebook, but it is not. What happens are snide comments about subjects people think they know, but don’t, and, worse than Facebook, links to even more bad things.
FTC Disclaimer About My Politics
I'm neither a Republican, nor a Democrat, but you could consider me conservative in economic policies. If you’ve followed me this far, I’m a researcher and an analyst. I look at things with a different slant, and that includes politics, American politics in particular. I’ve plugged myself into the online social media networks of several political movements, even movements that I find very distasteful.
What does that get me?
Well for one, a headache. As it relates to social media, I have an outsider’s view. And that view has taught me a lot of what people say in social media on politics is crap.
Why People Suck at This
What is crap? Crap in social media, while talking about American Politics is:
- Blanket statements
- Straw man arguments
- Ad hominem attacks
- Personal attacks
- Inaccurate statements
- Illogical statements
- Deliberately misleading statements
- Lack of research
- Lack of analysis
And the number one, and I mean the number one mistake in talking about politics in social media by far is:
- Linking to websites with the above problems
- Commentary and then linking to a website to make it a point against the current Administration, while other posts on this site state President Obama is not an American citizen (“birthers”).
- Commentary and then linking to a website to make a point for the current Administration, while other posts on this site go into graphic detail on why Sarah Palin’s recent son is really her daughter’s baby (“Sarah Palin Derangement Syndrome”).
How this Problem Bites People in the Tushie
In my prior post, I talked about karma and surrounding yourself with positive people and how the Golden Rule relates to professionalism.
The inverse is true. People avoid forming business relationships with these people:
- People who show a distinct lack of empathy for a different viewpoint: translation, you are a difficult and negative person
- People engaged in personal attacks, blanket statements, ad hominem attacks or straw man arguments: translation: you are a difficult and irrational person
Many people don’t even shutout the negative consciously. It is a natural reaction. It’s a natural reaction to gravitate, professionally, to other professionals. Unprofessional behavior has the inverse reaction.
Yet Another FTC Disclaimer: Some people are political commentators. That’s what they do with social media. That’s their platform and job. I’m talking about people like you and me, not people with seven-digit-hit-counters with a platform and vast audience, although, those people are sometimes guilty of a lack of empathy and irrationalism too.
What I'm Not Saying
I'm certainly not saying that we all should be politically sexless. What I'm trying to point out, like some things in life, the easy way sometimes is not the best way, and inserting your foot into your mouth or talking out your butt has consequences.
A More Positive Approach
A way to win people over to your viewpoint is a rational argument, even on social media, is to engage in professional behavior, even while dealing with the negative.
- Do you articulate your viewpoint properly around moral and ethical considerations?
- Do you have empathy for the opposing viewpoint?
- Is your commentary shrill pieces designed around “ditto,” or have you an opinion, one you have researched) based on end-to-end thinking?
- Did you base your viewpoint on a persuasive argument with foundations in logic rather than rhetoric?
- Have you read/seen/watched/experienced the book/legislation/movie/movement your post/update/tweet covers?
- Should you be spending your efforts on an entirely separate outlet such as your own political blog, separate from your personal blogs/Facebook/Twitter?
- Are you preaching to the choir?
- Are you preaching?
- Are you aware of how people perceive the websites linked in your commentary piece?
- Have you even considered the opposing viewpoint at all?
- Are you being a bully?
- Are you being elitist?
Notice how I didn’t say:
- Don’t rant
- Don’t be snarky
- Don’t be sarcastic
Social media is supposed to be fun. And sometimes, okay, more than sometimes, a good sarcastic, snarky rant is just what the doctor ordered. Especially ones that show the Emperor has no clothes.
The Professional’s Rule of Thumb for Political Commentary on Social Media
Don’t tell me I should consider your opinion, show me.