What have you heard a million and one times in business? Don’t discuss religion or politics. Generally, that’s a good rule of thumb because it doesn’t take much to set off a firestorm if you have landed on the wrong side of a customer’s or prospect’s political or theological point of view.
It appears that the same applies for social media as well. Here in the US, we are about to enter what promises to be a very spirited election season as President Obama seeks to be re-elected while someone from the other side (as of now TBD) tries to knock him out of office. Needless to say, tempers are flaring and we are still a solid six months away from the election itself. I for one wish it were over right now but that’s beside the point.
Well, if you feel strongly about politics you may want to be prepared for some social media backlash. A Pew Internet research project (as reported by eMarketer) reveals just how politics and social media can make for some rough sledding in “friendships”.
Granted this doesn’t happen as the norm since most people are reasonable enough to allow friends differences in political opinion. I know that the folks I am friends with in the online space run the gamut of the entire political spectrum from far left to far right. I tend to stay out of the fray because there are many other battles that are actually worth fighting if necessary. Political stances are not one of them for me personally.
Just a friendly reminder when you are gearing up for a political back and forth with your buddies. Not only do you risk alienating friends but you could also make a prospective employer a bit wary of bringing you on board since some are now looking for you to log on to your Facebook account during the job interview process. Chew on that idea for a while. That situation probably deserves a post of its own.
SO how do you handle politics and the social media world? Do you simply say “damn the torpedoes” and let the social media chips fall as they may or do you show some restraint? It’s funny how quickly the idea of being completely open can become much less attractive when there are real relationships on the line.
What’s your take?
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