Fruitless [froot-lis] adj : political rants on social media

Do you remember the good ‘ol days in politics when no one talked about politics? At the dinner table, everyone knew to tactically avoid certain taboo subjects like politics, religion, weather, and why little Stewart seems to be taking a special liking to Suzie’s Barbie dolls.

It’s certainly healthy to hold energetic political debates, sharing wide ranges of opinions and ideas; but let’s be honest, most people are idiots and know nothing, including the people we will be voting for this election year.

This 2012 year, my gripe isn’t as much with the candidates, but with the explosion of social media commentary that saturates news feeds.

There are already so many irritating posts on social media: pictures of baby fetus’s (feti?) in utero, religious quotes, relationship play-by-plays, suicidal threats, links to personal blogs… Add to this list: political BS.

I’m not entirely sure what the motive is behind posting political status updates:

  • Is it to seem intelligent? This seldom works, in fact, I could argue it gives the opposite effect.
  • Is it to showcase proud red or blue? Mix them and–purple!
  • Is it to try to change the mind of Facebook friends? I doubt that lab partner from freshmen year of college cares much about the political opinions of a long forgotten “friend.”

Image from the October 22, 2012 issue of Time magazine article, “Unfriending the Enemy” – Katy Steinmetz. Blog post also inspired by this as well as my own FB friend’s super annoying posts.

Here lies the key word: opinion. We are all entitled to it, but an opinion is not necessarily fact based (not that facts seem an important issue in this year’s election anyway –oooo, burn to both candidates!). So while it’s great the American/Facebook population has managed to make a conclusion that Romney is either awesome or a douche or that Obama is an off-the-hook BAMF or horrific president, it doesn’t offer much pull in a news feed. I would challenge someone who could pinpoint one status update that changed their viewpoint, and thus the whole future of the election. Takers?

In short (to long)…

Typically, people who share an ideology with a “friend” will  “like” it. Shocking. People who don’t, unsubscribe to a feed, defriend, or choose to start an argument for all 1000 virtual friends to see. The latter can have an added benefit of being massively entertaining.

Citing TV clips from Fox news makes the Facebooker a fool. Reposting MSNBC articles makes the social media guru equally as much a dumbass. Quoting information from Snapple caps makes the Tweeter a little better than the two prior idiotic methods mentioned in this paragraph.

Bias is inevitable in the “real” sources we use to make decisions. Bias is inevitable from our upbringing and education. Bias sits cozily in our head even as we watch the presidential debate. Bias is what goes into every political Facebook/Twitter post. We can’t get away from it, and generally, I’d say this is the strongest pull to our decision-making in the 2012 election and every election forward and backward.

So, look, I know how I’m going to be voting. I’ve known how I’m going to be voting for a while. I only do not know how I’ll be voting in the DC local elections. To me, that is where I need to focus. Especially with my new voter registration card fresh in the mail! Yeah independent! That means I think for myself–probably-ish.

No assembly of words spewing forth from Facebook will sway me, it’s little more than knowledge-like bile and also incredibly irritating.

With all this said, I remove myself from my soapbox and encourage readers to think twice and post once.


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