Yes/No for political posting
April 8, 2017
Twitter accounts dedicate themselves to dank Nicolas Cage memes, artists make a living off posting sped-up makeup tutorials on Instagram and parents incessantly share cringey cat videos on Facebook. How do I take advantage of my First Amendment rights? Well, I happen to dedicate most of my Tweets, Instagram photos and Facebook posts to demonstrating my liberal political beliefs.
Although I’ve always followed politicians and social movements and retweeted liberal posts, my activism through social media recently peaked with my role as a Youth Ambassador for the Women’s March on Washington organization. I posted multiple times a day for a week on each of my social media accounts, urging my followers and friends to come to the march.
As a result of my many posts, I received message after message asking questions about the details of the march and how to get more involved with it. Thousands of people viewed the videos I posted explaining why I march and showing all the signs KHS students made at my house. I connected with other teens involved with the movement, making contacts and friends across the country.
Yes, I did see around a 100-like drop on Instagram photos and one joking comment on one of my posts as a result of their political nature. But since I didn’t offend anyone enough to tell me so and many people found out about the march from my posts, my social media blast was a success. Without posting all over my social media about my political beliefs, I wouldn’t have been able to be as successful in my campaign for the Women’s March.
Since my involvement with this movement, I’ve sustained my activity on social media, Facebook live-ing the last protest at Lambert airport against the travel ban, tweeting against new anti-abortion laws and sharing posts to call Congress members to fight for equality. The Women’s March only fueled my fire to post on social media about my political beliefs.
I do understand how annoying a feed full of political posts can be; I follow roughly 500 political accounts on each media platform. However, if my feed were too jam-packed with my liberal jargon, then my annoyed followers and friends could simply click the “unfriend” or “unfollow” button. It’s that easy.
In posting politically, I’m aware a significant portion of my audience will disagree with me and fail to comprehend how my “ranting” could be at all necessary. At the same time, though, knowing another fraction is receptive of my liberal social media activity, I feel obligated to share my thoughts because I know political posts like mine need to be written. For instance, look at how small posts from individuals can lead to widespread movements, exemplified by Bernie Sanders’s grassroots campaign in 2016 and the tea party’s influence over Republican party members in 2010 over Facebook and Twitter, according to the Scholars Strategy Network.
No matter the amount of hate I receive or likes I lose, I will continue to proudly post politically, an action protected by the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. I mean, at least I’m not posting dead Nicolas Cage memes, right?
I switch off the television in frustration as I watch the president debate with the press. It’s all bickering. Why do political decisions have to divide us? I turn on my iPhone and try to erase the crowd’s uproars from my memory. But as I scroll through my social media feeds, I’m bombarded by rants about the recent controversial decisions.
Following these tirades are even nastier comments in response, a continuous stream of arguments. Friends feud with each other, striving to out-argue the other for pure satisfaction of winning the brawl. I press my home button and steam. There is no escape from the hysterics that separate Americans today.
It’s no question that social media and politics go hand in hand in our society. According to USAtoday, nearly 40 percent of Americans ‘Like’ or post political comments on social media sites. I can’t argue that people should not be able to post about politics, as freedom of speech is a constitutional right. However, I do believe posting about political topics is unnecessary. It seems, no matter what a user says, somewhere between the caption and comments section political posts often turn ugly.
People are quick to take offense to political posts because passionate arguments are trapped in black-and-white text. In standard font, no one can tell the inflection in a person’s voice at certain points in an argument. One could write a comment three people would later read and interpret differently each time. These in-text arguments sponsor miscommunication on social media and affect the purpose of political discussions, to persuade the other side.
Once civilized discussion is lost and arguing begins, there’s no turning back. Users practically shout their opinions in others’ faces without even knowing. On social media, the pressure for popularity often affects political discussions. People focus more on receiving a ‘Like’ for their ability to refute another’s opinion than the lessons to be learned from that opinion. There is no end to the back-and-forth attacks.
The worst part of this bottomless arguing is that it solves nothing. Rarely do people change their mind on a subject after they’re ridiculed about it in public. Also, there’s a reason why people post about politics on their social media in the first place, they obviously feel strongly about that topic. A recent poll from Rantic found that 10,000 Facebook users agreed that political posts were extremely unlikely to change anyone’s views. However, the users did agree the posts were likely to annoy people and even inspire them to unfriend other users.
In a time of political polarization, we need to come together as a nation to discuss a plan of action. Posting an angry rant about each decision will only cause more problems. Political posting encourages people to discuss views through screens instead of face-to-face. We should all pledge to discuss word affairs in the real world.