Facebook as a Political Tool

Back when I was in college, I used Facebook every now and then, maybe updating my profile once a week, and seeing what my friends were up to once every few weeks. Afterall, I saw them just about every day, and really didn't need to be using Facebook to keep in touch with them. This was back in the early days of Facebook where 95% of your friends were from your college, and you had to write a letter to Mark Zuckerberg just to get a network for your college to be created. Now, like most people, my friends list is compiled of virtually anyone I've said "hello" to in my life time, and I check my Facebook every few seconds. Mostly because these days I sit in front of a computer from 9-6, and can steal some Facebook glances every now and then. And with all this Facebooking, I've started to notice two very obvious categories that all my friends fall within. The political, and the apolitical.

As a quick clarifying, or a definition in terms, when I say apolitical, I don't mean those who have no interest in political or world events. Rather, I mean those who do not make their political leanings very clear on Facebook. I myself, would fall into that very group. While I love to engage in political debate, and have strong opinions, Facebook is not my forum for sharing them. For me, Facebook isn't the place for politics, or a forum for advocacy. It's a place where all those things should be checked at the door for the simple fact that there are too many people with too many views - and things can easily get out of hand. It's too easy to talk past each other.

But then I have a large number of friends who fall deeply into the political group. I'm painting with broad brushstrokes (maybe unfairly) but there's a range of posts from around lifestyle conversations like vegetarianism, humanitarian issues advocating human/animal/environmental rights, actual post on Politics that campaigning for political groups and leaders, and then those posts promoting foundations/scientific research/medical research. Regardless of how "safe" a post may be, I find myself more reluctant to engage for fear of finding polarizing opinions that make the social network a less pleasant place. Not everything has to break down to points & counter-points, do they? 

I'd very much rather just use it as a tool to keep up with friends.


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