Believe it or not, the average person has 3 different social networks they check every day. I personally spend at least 8+ hours a day on social media… of course, it’s my job, but also because it’s fun and I enjoy it. Unfortunately, the way things have been looking online lately, I can’t wait for November 8th to finally come and go!

This election season, I’ve been deluged with so many political posts, it has my mind spinning. I’ve become one of the world’s best fact checkers as I find myself compelled to research some of the crazy statements made by media, bloggers, and the candidates themselves.

Social media has the power to make anyone’s voice heard, however, it seems like this election has brought out more of the dark side of those wanting to be heard. Political views are amplified this year, which means “liking,” retweeting, or sharing opinions others don’t agree with is causing people to “unfriend” longtime personal friends.

A recent study by the Pew Research center showed the following interesting statistics:

  • 53% of those polled said Social Media has become less respectful
  • 49% say it is less civil
  • 51% say they are less likely to come to a resolution
  • 49% say they are angrier

Will all that change after the election is over?

Not likely. Social media is often the glue that reinforces our beliefs. What we believe today, we will still believe after the election, regardless of who is elected. If our chosen candidate doesn’t win, we’ll likely take comfort in griping about it with our friends… on social networks!

Can any good come of this?

Possibly.

Social Media certainly does have us talking about the electoral process, which is what our founding fathers wanted when they passed the First Amendment. Unfortunately, many people have adopted the attitude of “agree with my opinion or I hate you,” which is not what was intended 240 years ago.

A big part of social media is LISTENING, which doesn’t seem to be happening at all in this election. Everyone has an opinion but very few really listen to understand. If you only listen long enough to pick up a soundbite you can rant about, you are a spammer, and we all know spammers aren’t credible sources of information. You are better off disengaging than joining an angry conversation.

If you want your opinions to be heard, you have to listen and learn rather than ranting and trolling. Rants don’t change anyone’s mind about the issues. They only change people’s minds about who you are, and how they will remember you.

#BeCivilOnline