Will Discussing Politics on Social Media Kill Your Business?

America has witnessed one of the most contentious elections in history. Many of us feel very strongly about our political views, the candidate we supported or did not support, and we want to talk politics. Discussion is important, and some may argue that it’s a lack of discussion that has gotten us to the point of having such a contentious rivalry in the first place. Social media has played a huge part in the election. Candidates now post on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to connect with their supporters. Citizens use social media channels to organize events, rallies, and to promote the candidate of their choice.

70% of internet users are now on Facebook, and many people will agree that it’s more and more difficult to keep our personal lives separate from our business lives. Many of us now have business colleagues as Facebook friends, giving them access to very personal, intimate parts of our lives. We want the benefit of being ourselves on social media, while not “upsetting” anyone, especially business colleagues or clients, by being ourselves.

So what is ok to post on social media, and what’s not ok? We’ve all seen inflammatory posts on social media recently. People mudslinging, calling each other names and unfriending each other over political opinions or comments. Facebook is a social network, and it was designed for personal use before it was ever used for business, and it is still a highly personal outlet – so people should expect to see political posts or posts about people’s personal feelings or opinions in various regards. If you feel the need to speak up about your views, you should be free to do so. It may even lead to healthy discussion, and learning about alternate views and the facts or arguments behind them. But – think before you speak. Ask yourself, “would I say this to someone in person?” Sitting behind a screen, it may be easy to get carried away…remember to keep your comments respectful! It’s one thing to state your opinion or to disagree, or to engage in healthy debate. It’s taking it to the extreme that can hurt your reputation.

It’s each of our personal choice whether to engage in discussions about politics or avoid it entirely on social media. We should keep in mind that we are all different, come from different backgrounds and upbringings, and we will never all agree on everything, including our political views. Part of what makes America great is that we are free to disagree! So try to keep an open mind when dealing with your friends and business contacts on social media!

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