With the presidential election three weeks away, Americans have taken to Facebook and other popular social media websites to spout their views on the candidates and their platforms.
That behavior can be positive as it is a form of political activity. Those posts suggest that a person has been following the candidates and or the issues and is passionate about the outcome of the election. Americans should be civically engaged.
Political statuses might also inform Facebook users who have not followed the election as closely. Chances are, more Americans are tuned into their newsfeeds than the homepage of a major news publication. Election related material on the site may keep them informed.
However, that is not to say users should take every political post they see at face value. Rather, those posts should encourage them to learn more about the issues and the candidates.
Some users probably have hidden agendas and the material they post may not be all that accurate. Also worthy of discussion are the political statuses that come off as militant and overly aggressive. Who wants to log onto their Facebook page only to find material attacking them for thinking a certain way? No one.
Then again, users have the option of hiding more militant posters from their newsfeeds. Just because someone has a habit of posting hostile statuses doesn’t mean you have to subject yourself to them every time you log onto the site.
For better or for worse, people’s behavior on Facebook and other social media websites sometimes influences their interactions in the real world. Someone who attacks a political party online might find that they have fewer friends who are willing to carry on a conversation about the subject with them in person. Their friends may even steer clear of discussing any controversial topics with them in the future. In the end, these people will likely not refrain from posting political statuses, but it does not mean their Facebook friends will listen.