I am 56 years-old. I am a white man. I live in the suburbs. I have two healthy sons and an amazing wife.
I have nothing to complain about. But still I have a knack for finding political fights on social media platforms.
I used to be a journalist, and then a columnist. I put food on my family’s table by sharing my opinions every week.
Please, however, make no mistake, I am today a little more than a second-rate pundit with a boatload of opinions, a keyboard and an internet connection. Sadly, a lot of other people I know are in the same boat.
When I was growing up, I was taught that voting, and politics were private things. That’s why we have curtains at the voting booth: to keep our choices private. Back then, however, we didn’t have an internet and access to so many people.
According to Facebook, I have more than 1,100 “friends.” Let’s get real. I can count the number of my friends on two hands,
“We are reckless in our use of the lovely word friend,” or so wrote French author Romain Rolland in 1913.
I am guilty of being a political monger, easily sucked into meaningless debates on Facebook and Twitter. But I also like to think I am a political centrist, and that it would be difficult to discern my political orientation based on my social media postings.
Maybe I am kidding myself. Maybe not.
I find it curious that so many people spend so much time engaged in political debates on social media outlets, some of which become quite heated as these amateur pundits duke it out on the world-wide web.
Both Democrats and Republicans (in almost equal measure) line up in their own turf and pontificate why their points are absolute truth. Are these people trying to recruit more members? Are they hoping to influence our nation’s political discourse?
Following my career in journalism, I accepted a job as a public relations professional. Yes, social media is a powerful communications tool in today’s world of political engagement, but every PR pro knows that it must be handled with precision.
Do you really think that name calling, badgering and screeching hardcore positions will “convert” someone from a different camp?
How much time do you spend on social media platforms, engaged in political debates?
Is it worth it?