Thursday, November 8, 2012

Why We Lose Friends on Social Media During a Presidential Election or Otherwise

Sometimes in the wake of a major political election such as the recent U.S. Presidential election, one may find they are with fewer friends on social media such as Facebook and Twitter, than they had before.  Why is this?  Why do people take something so personal?  

Politics on Social Media

  Well simply put, it IS personal.  Party affiliation can be so deeply engrained in people that it becomes part of their persona, part of what makes them,  them.  It is what defines them.  When someone makes a derogatory comment or post a derogatory picture of someone in a party that they are deeply connected to, it is like a personal insult.  Kind of like you are making fun of their name, because it is part of who they are.  It is not like making fun of someone's favorite sports team, because political affiliation goes much broader and deeper into their personality and way of life.  People would be more willing to turn against their own sports team than their party affiliation, especially if they were raised that way.

It is difficult for people to get away from this mind set because that is how they are raised as a child.  The majority of the people out there vote like their parents do and rarely change.  It becomes part of them.  So when they see someone post something derogatory against a candidate of their choosing, they instantly feel anger.  The first instinct is to post something derogatory in response.  Then the battle begins.  There are some things that are just better left off of social media that are personal such as political preference.  

Sometimes you have to have pretty thick skin to be able to ignore these things.  It is difficult to break away from a party if it is engrained in you, but one option is to become an (I)ndependent.  Once you start looking at different options as an independent, you may find that you may mix your voting and vote for some Republican and some Democratic candidates.  Maybe even a candidate from another party may make more sense based on their agenda.  Afterall, if you are affiliated with one party and a candidate in that party is sort of an a**hole, do you really want to vote for them?  Crossing party lines can sometimes produce a best lineup for a ballot.

Throughout my life, I have been registered different times as: Republican, Democrat, and Independent.  About 10 years ago before the Presidential campaign, I decided that I did not care for some of the candidates in both Democratic or Republican party, so I re-registered as an Independent.  I voted for a mix of all three.  I have remained so ever since then and vote for whoever makes the most sense at the time regardless of party affiliation.  When someone posts derogatory remarks on social media about any particular party or candidate, it is much easier for me to laugh it off or even make fun of them myself if they are humorous.  I don't really care to hear really nasty derogatory comments about anyone, however I have yet to unfriend someone because of making derogatory comments about a political candidate.

Religion on Social Media

Religion is another touchy area.  It is all fine a good that a person is proud of their religion, but when they start touting scriptures and such on social media, those who are not part of that religion, others who are not part of that may get annoyed.  And YES, there are people out there who have different religious beliefs than you may, and that is their right.  Some may consider it proselytizing (attempting to spread a religion), and unfriend or unfollow the person posting these things. This really gets hairy when people try to bring religion into a political campaign.  Separation of church and State happened a long time ago and for a good reason.

I personally believe it bits and pieces of many religions, they each have their purpose and it is what makes the world so dynamic.

Bottom Line...  Be Careful What You Post

So if you suddenly find your self with a lot fewer friends or followers on social media than you had before, take a look at what you posted.  If it has to do with religion or politics, that could be why.

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