Saturday, June 9, 2012

The Politics of Facebook

During the 2008 presidential election, much was said and written about the influence of the internet on the political process. Remember Obama Girl?

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Fair notice, politically and socially, I am a reformed conservative. Until the last election I was a card-carrying Republican. I was driven over the edge during the second administration of George W. Bush. Nowadays, my political convictions are liberal, very liberal. I don't think anyone's religious convictions should be the deciding factor in legislation. I think everyone's rights should be protected by the Constitution, including whether homosexuals are allowed to marry or women are allowed to have control over their own bodies. And I think everyone has the right to affordable health care. You can believe whatever you want to believe, but you should not be allowed to legislate away anyone's rights because of your religious beliefs.

My Facebook friends are a mix of people from all over the place. Some are former co-workers, some are neighbors, some are from my 1970's church youth group, some from an online weight loss surgery support group, some are family, some are friends, some are acquaintances, some I've never met in real life. There are Baptists, Catholics, agnostics, atheists, Democrats, Republicans, independents, straights, gays, lesbians, teens, seniors, and everything in between. We come from all kinds of backgrounds and hold all kinds of jobs. Recreational activities include a wide range of activities like running, biking, roller derby, reading, and scrap-booking.

And we are just as diverse when it comes to our politics. Below are actual posts from my Facebook News Feed. Every one of these was posted by at least one of my friends. None of them are mine, although I have been known to re-post the ones I like. As you can see, most, but not all, of my friends are of the conservative persuasion.  After all, I do live in Texas.

People use Facebook to share their political opinions and pass on their religious convictions. If it weren't for these posts on Facebook, I think it most likely that I would not even know most of these people's politics nor their religion. Being behind the keyboard makes people brave. They seem more likely to express themselves. Most of the people I know would probably never appear at a political rally or speak about their convictions in a public forum. There is something "freeing" about stating your opinions from the keyboard rather than from a soapbox.

Is that good or is that bad? I'm not sure. I think there is definitely value in being able to share opinions and ideas. I saw this on Facebook too and it covers how I feel about many issues.

A very close friend recently expressed to me that she hated Facebook because it allowed people to make comments from behind the security of the keyboard. On the other hand, I love it. But then I do love a good discussion.

How do you feel about Facebook and the political views expressed there?


  1. Many of my 'friends' on Facebook are conservative, I am not. I avoid Facebook during times like these because I don't want to developed negative feelings against my 'friends' who cannot respect that we all have different opinions on politics. I have not in the past posted political posts on my wall because I would not want to offend my republican friends. I wish they felt the same way about my feelings. Hmmm, maybe they are not really my friends.

  2. I'm in Texas, too, and I've had to hide posts by some individuals because they were too offensive. I haven't actually unfriended anyone, but I have come close! I can have a good FB political discussion with some of my friends, but not with others. A good political discussion is focused on one issue and is polite even though it may be heartfelt. Links are posted for claims made, and they are links to respectable sources. Any questionable claims are checked out first on Snopes or PolitiFact. Yeah, those who adhere to these standards are pretty rare!

  3. Love it when people are respectful. But some of my friends are downright hateful. One of my friends LIVES IN JAPAN and posts the ugliest hate filled anti-conservative drack I have ever read. Another friend is so anti-Liberal that she will unfriend you if you say something positive about Obama.

    Me? I Love George W. Bush. LOVE HIM. And I also respect and admire President Obama. I voted for him. In other words, I think for myself.

  4. Some of my Facebook friends are very disrespectful and I hide a lot of posts. Like Mary who posted before me...I voted for George Bush and I voted for Obama. I think the office of president deserves respect no matter who holds the office. Our president is not a dictator...the legislative and judicial branches also determine what happens in our country.

  5. This was an excellent post and I'm really glad I read it. Gives me a bit of hope to know that there are others out there who can actually think for themselves. I rarely post anything political on FB as most of my relative have different views than I do and why stir things up. I really think there is way to much hate speech!

  6. I am laughing at the signs and your article. On of my FB 'friends' was a Ron Paul follower and I used to get laughs almost every day from the things that he posted so I don't mind