SALT LAKE CITY, April 9, 2013 — So you want to say something on Facebook without being offensive? Or you want to say something and have your opinion and information considered and heard? Despite what you may have seen in recent months, it’s possible to do both.
Recently and it seems continually, newsfeeds all over the world have been filled with friends screaming in caps about not getting any sleep, relatives demanding that if you disagree with DOMA then “un-friend them now,” and remember 13-year-old Katie whom you used to babysit? Yeah, well now she’s 18 and instagramming pictures of her new tattoo and belly piercing. What’s going on?
The world, according to Facebook, is a crazy and often hostile place. But these are your friends, remember? And a fun part of your day is sharing your life and opinions with them and vice versa.
To that end, we spoke with multiple relationship and digital media experts and compiled this list of ways to be passionate/political/informative on Facebook without being offensive.
Six ways to post on Facebook and keep your friends:
1. Consider your motive – Cindy Rack, a social media strategist with Social Voice Marketing LLC, suggests that you consider your motive before posting: “You have to ask yourself ‘So what? Why is it important for me to share this information?’
“If it’s because you have a policy or cause that you’re passionate about and you want to inform people about an upcoming vote or you want to educate people on a particular subject and encourage them to do their own research, it may be ok to share. If, however, it’s to trash or bad mouth a [political] candidate or an opposing view, then consider keeping your thoughts to yourself.”
2. Use humor – For the most part, people can appreciate a good joke. Many experts cited humor as the best way to communicate an opinion via social media. Try it out, take note of your friends’ reactions. In many instances, humor is disarming and non-threatening; use that to your advantage. It’s true that some things are not funny, and to make light of them would be disrespectful, so as with all posts, do your best to be considerate of others.
3. Avoid over posting – Charles Ellison, the host of ‘POTUS on Call’ for Sirius XM 124 and a political commentator for multiple news outlets, suggests that we “Exercise restraint” when posting about any topic, especially politics. You may find 20 great items that illustrate your point, but post after post about anything is annoying, and you’re likely to be un-followed, at the very least.
4. Focus on what you think as opposed to what others should or should not think – “Don’t tell me my business, Devil Woman.” Remember that line from Billy Madison? The old guy who said it didn’t want his wife telling him what to do, and your Facebook friends don’t want you doing that either. Share, but don’t demand.
5. No threats –Cassandra James, the author of “How to Go from Boohoo to Woohoo in 90 Days” and who specializes in personal growth commented that we can “Learn to be passionate while respecting that we are all evolving and learning. Habits and beliefs we once held dear can change.” So before you demand that a friend of yours un-friends you if s/he disagrees with your point of view, recognize that the person might change or you might change, and severing the friendship, even just online, may be too drastic of a move.
6. Do your research - “If you’re going to put your political views on Facebook count on everyone coming out of the woodwork [to comment]…do your research in advance to back up both your status and your point of view,” says Heather Taylor, Social Media Manager for Mycorporation.com.
There you have it, six items to consider when posting content to Facebook and other social media platforms. Even with these tips, it’s worth remembering that we can never please everyone, and that doesn’t need to be our goal, but Facebook at its core is a place for friends. So be as passionate/honest/informative/expressive/creative as you can possibly be but remember to be friendly also.
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