Here comes the 2016 presidential election. Arguably one of the most divided, emotional, angry, and intense elections of modern times, not a day goes by without a crazy sound bite, a scandal, a retraction, or a questionable campaign ad.
Every day on my newsfeed, I see something else that’s cringe-worthy. Lots of “unfriend” and “unfollow” actions that keep me wondering how I’d missed these signs before. Politics can bring out the ugly in people. But come November, we’ve all got to sit back and accept whatever happens. And doesn’t it seem silly to burn bridges for something so temporary?
People are angry. There is so much unrest in our society. People are hurting. They’re sad. They’re afraid. But remember this: It’s not your responsibility to fix it.
While it’s incredibly tempting to outwardly engage in political social media, here are a few ways to be political without actually being political:
Share a hopeful, inspiring quote. A few weeks ago, a young boy in our community was fatally shot by a police officer. In an effort to stay neutral, but also express our sorrow, one of the organizations I work with posted a Martin Luther King Jr. quote. While it didn’t directly address the situation at hand, it brought a very level and peaceful message in a time of chaos and turmoil.
Post bipartisan reports on issues that concern your organization. Facts are facts (though you’ve got to be really conscious of your source). While I can’t guarantee that these facts might stir the pot a bit, it’s hard to argue with cold hard facts. But note that even if you take a bipartisan route, there will likely still be backlash. So just remember to keep it relevant to your organization, use the most legitimate sources possible, and keep your voice objective.
When in doubt, don’t. If there’s something political you personally feel inclined to discuss via social media, but you’re not sure if you should professionally, it’s probably a good time to delete that draft. In such a rigid political environment, you never know how many dollars could drop because you posted the wrong status. So if you’re not sure it’s a good move, it probably isn’t.
Keep your comments clean. One of the down sides of posting something that could be debatable is the actual debate. We’ve all seen how quickly political conversations can spiral out of control on social media. If one happens to break out on something you’ve posted, be sure to delete anything that could soil your relationship with your followers (more importantly, your donors). No one wants an unfollow because a non-following user started a debate.
How do you address politics on your social media pages? Tell us in the comments below!