You’ve seen this, right? Or something with the same sentiment? Perhaps because I post a lot of political commentary on the social networks, I see it a lot.
A few weeks ago, I wrote on Facebook that I don’t post political information to change people’s minds. Rather, I post it so that they are aware of the candidates and issues in the election.
That’s one-third true. I also post information because it’s a part of who I am: I am interested in politics and politicians. The direction of the country is important to me. This year, when a candidate has no experience in politics, shows little interest in the affairs of state, seems ignorant of the laws and traditions of the country, and speaks like a narcissistic bully, well, I consider the future of our democracy at stake.
And, yes, I do want to change people’s minds.
Two days ago, I read a story in the New York Times about a study that suggests that most people don’t pay that much attention to politics. These are the two paragraphs that intrigued me:
But most make only modest efforts to seek out coverage that is consistent with their preferences or to avoid uncongenial information in the real world, where other factors like convenience, habit and recommendations from friends on social media often matter more.
However, media consumption is wildly unequal. In the absence of a major story like the Clinton email controversy, the news audience skews toward a relatively small group of people who engage in very heavy consumption (just like alcohol). This group not only reads political news much more often than the average person, but also participates in politics more often as well.
It’s easy to find social media etiquette guides telling you to avoid posting about politics because you might offend people, lose them as friends or damage your brand. Check, check and check. I ran a newspaper; offending people and losing friends came with the territory. My brand? Well, politics are part of it now.
Can I influence one or a few people to reconsider their views? It’s worth it, regardless of the number of people who unfriend, mute and block me.