When it comes to personal and professional social media use (and those are the same for me), up until about two weeks ago, I had to big rules.
#1: Never discuss religion.
#2: Never discuss politics.
As a consultant, I saw no upside to discussing either in a public forum. For one, there are so many extreme views shared on social media. Obviously, we’ve seen that the last year-plus on a grander scale.
But, the rules also existed (to a larger extent) because I didn’t want to offend a client. Or, a potential client.
After all, you don’t know everyone’s political or religious affiliations online.
But, a little more than a month ago, something switched for me. It’s not necessarily because I lean hard to the left and that the president leans pretty hard to the right.
It’s not because everyone else is talking about politics online.
And it’s not because I’m necessarily prompted to act based on the current president’s actions.
I just started thinking a bit more about my current policy. Why was I so stringent on not talking about politics publicly? Would that really drive a client away? Would it really offend someone to not work with me, if I presented my arguments and opinion in a rationale manner?
I kept coming back to one answer: Not really.
So, why not talk about it? Why not share my opinion from time to time? Why not comment in spots where I would have never commented before?
I decided to wade into the murky and dangerous political waters online. Here’s my thought process:
- Politics is increasingly becoming a bigger part of my life–and I have stronger opinions than I did when I started this gig eight years ago. My kids are now in middle school. I’m a bit older. I own a home. I invest in the stock market. I read the paper. All these are small factors that have propelled me to care more about politics than I did when I was younger. I have strong opinions on my public school district. I have strong opinions on where government should butt in, and where they should not. And, I (surprisingly) find myself having strong opinions on issues like gay marriage. If these things are a bigger part of my life, why wouldn’t I talk about them?
- Be rationale–not bombastic. What I’ve noticed over the last year-plus, especially, is the people who really turn me off online (on both sides of the aisle) are those who tend to be too bombastic. You probably know what I mean–those people who tend to over-dramatacize recent political events. Those people who tend to be a bit more shrill than others. Those who claim every move the current president makes is terrible or horribly wrong. My plan: Share and comment on topics I care about and do it in a thoughtful way. Simple as that.
- Watch the frequency closely. I’m not here to say you shouldn’t be posting anti-Trump stories 45 times a day. If that’s your jam and you feel that strongly about what’s going on, go for it. Definitely not judging. But for me, it’s a little much (and I simply don’t have the time). So, I’m planning to watch my frequency closely.
- Keep it light, when I can. I know politics in serious. I know at times we’re literally talking about life-or-death-type stuff. I get it. But, I also think we can have a little fun along the way. Not saying I’m going to post a string of SNL-Trump skits. Just saying I may not always be 100 percent dead-on serious in all my political posts. Laughing is good, people.
So, that’s my story and I’m sticking to it–for now. Hoping to hold myself accountable (this is a good way to do it). We’ll see how this goes…