Reminder To Self: Stop Engaging In Political Debates On Facebook

Because I run a political blog, as you might imagine, I sometimes find it hard to resist engaging in politics on Facebook. I’ve done a pretty good job through this election season ignoring most political Facebook statuses, but sometimes I just can’t help myself. And it seems I often find myself debating with someone I don’t even know for which we both have a mutual friend. And I’m amazed how often these debates devolve into one-directional name calling. Maybe I just have thin skin, but I try to stay cordial in these debates but I fully expect that at some point I will be referred to as an “Obamabot,” or a “sheep,” or any number of other colorful terms. — Because I guess that is a requirement of a cogent argument?

So I need to remind myself once again to stop engaging in political debates on Facebook. I mean, that’s one good reason to have a political blog, so I can post what’s on my mind without the blow back from friends and their friends. It’s not that I don’t want to engage in political debates, but I’ve found that the debates I’ve had on Facebook usually are a huge waste of time. Although it has produced a number of follow-up posts on this blog, so maybe it’s worth it after all? What do you think?

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  • I am still looking for that strange woman who told me just before the election how glorious it was going to be drink my tears on Nov. 7th.

  • Spot on! I do the same thing and every so often I try to remind myself that there is no arguing with CRAZY. Nobody’s mind is going to change because of anything they see on Facebook.

    That said, I still find myself reading some of the most insane and ridiculous shit from some friends and family and their friends and family and I simply HAVE to say something. I couldn’t resist when, for example, Fox “News” implied that the Hurricane Sandy telethon was a reelect Obama concert or any of the birther, death-panel junk. I’d probably do myself a real service if I just stopped visiting Facebook altogether.

    • I’m sure I will still engage, if for no other reason than to produce more content to blog about. 🙂

  • Steve

    Ha! I had to laugh when I saw this post, having seen the debate you speak of. 🙂 It’s funny becasue I can really see two sides to this argument. On the one hand, you’re right that it’s a total waste of time, becasue you’ll likely not change the opponent’s mind, but on the other hand you have to keep in mind all the people reading silently, who don’t feel as strongly, whose minds may be influenced that you’re not aware of. I also think it’s more common for liberals to give up and walk away from FB debates than conservatives – maybe becasue we’re more rational or more sensitive, who knows. But it’s a shame becasue if we all stop debating there will be nobody to push back against the crazies! 😉 Especailly someone with educated/though-out points like people like you would make – it’s a shame for those to disappear from public debates. In some cases, FB is the ONLY place a conservative hears views counter to his own, so there is value in that respect.

    All that being said, you could also argue that FB is meant to be fun and social, and these probably aren’t arguments you would get into in person, so maybe it’s making FB not fun or social, and therefore is a bad idea. I know I personally have a MUCH more negative opinion of some people since joining FB than I ever would’ve had without it. It’s a shame. So in that respect maybe political debates should be left to dedicated political forums like this blog. Hmmmm… I waffle back and forth.

    I guess it comes down to whether you enjoy debating or not. Personally, I do when I’m in the mood – otherwise it just makes my blood boil and I can’t tolerate it. But since you run this site, chances are you don’t mind a little back and forth… 😉

    • I think that is probably how it needs to be looked at, that someone is silently absorbing what’s being said, and that it could then be worthwhile even though it feels pointless. And you are right, Facebook can easily change your opinion of people.