Tuesday, May 10

Blocking Politics on Social Media


(this article also appears on Huffington Post - click here to read it there)

When I read over the weekend that Facebook has been allegedly accused of blocking trending topics that are politically conservative, I shook my head. With all the craziness of this year's political campaigns, it would make sense that there would be drama on the social media front. "It's always something," I said to myself with no one around.

Social media is made for drama after all, right?!? With a new book out, I've seen it myself as I've put myself out there.

But as I thought about it more, isn't that what actually happens on social media just organically? Aren't we the cause of that ourselves?

Again, I shook my head but this time nodding a great big, "yes."

I basically get all of my news from social media feeds. I read the sound byte and if I want to bite then I click to get more information. Most of the time I just surf.

But the truth is that my "news" and information is all coming from sources that I have personally vetted. While my following is quite diverse, by definition they are all within a certain span of political views. They all lie within a range, and I have to admit that they all view socio-political issues somewhat similarly. Not across the board, but within a range. Even my "conservative" friends are pretty liberal when it comes to social issues.

But that's just me and my "friends."

Think about it...how many posts have you seen that challenged people to unfriend them if they support Trump. Or Hillary. Or if they are pro-life or pro-choice. Or have a specific point of view on immigration. Or kale as a super food.

We weed out that which we don't agree with on our social channels. Or at least many of us do. We don't accept those who have radically different views than our own. All within a range, certainly, but some of our ranges are larger than others.

Let's face it...this is why so many family events are so painful. You have to listen to "Bob" go on and on about his opinions and you can't do much about it. You have to listen or leave or pick a fight, which gets the rest of the family all worked up.

Me, I grab a glass of wine.

So we curate our list of followers and friends on social media, so that we don't have to deal with "Bob." We follow who we want to follow. We read what we want to read. We gravitate towards what is familiar and comfortable.

So quite honestly I'm not sure we should accuse Facebook of screening anything...because we are already doing it for ourselves.

What's your experience?  JIM

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