Why Arguing Politics on Facebook Is a Waste of Your Time
Start writing a post
Politics and Activism

Why Arguing Politics on Facebook Is a Waste of Your Time

Well, and everyone else's.

4131
Why Arguing Politics on Facebook Is a Waste of Your Time
@goldengateblond

I recently made a major discovery: my Facebook feed is complete garbage. Clickbait, spam, "fake news", and worst of all, political arguments between Aunt Sally and Joey from high school Biology. In Q3 of 2016, Facebook had reported over 1.79 billion monthly active users. At some point over the past 18 months, Facebook transformed from "happy birthdays" and cat pictures to the epicenter of political thought and debate.

Here's what people need to understand: as garbage as my newsfeed is, your's is too. In an attempt to better target users to find more relevant content, Facebook updated its algorithm. This formula leads Facebook to create your newsfeed, not just based on the most recent posts from your friends or from pages you've "liked," but based on the posts it predicts you'll find the most relevant.

What's been the result? A political echo chamber. Have mostly liberal friends? You'll see recommended and pushed posts from Mic, Vox and Occupy Democrats. Like the pages of conservative think tanks and Republican senators? Expect to see posts from Fox News, Breitbart and Conservative Review. From "trending news" to your friends' most popular shared posts, the more you like, comment and share, the smaller your chamber becomes.

It's no secret the more our ideas are reinforced, the more passionate about them we become. Why would dictators burn books and tyrannical governments block the internet if they didn't fear the influence of dissenting opinions?

So, here we are today.

Let's set the scene. You're browsing your newsfeed, and you see a friend has shared a partisan political piece criticizing or promoting the top story of today's news cycle. The post has a few likes, maybe even a share or two. A distance family member comments, "Love this! Good for you!" If you agree, you like it too. Maybe you don't, so you shrug your shoulders and move on.

Later in the day, you come across the post again. This time, though, there's a stream of 20 plus comments. Blocks of texts attacking the poster's point of view. Another friend jumps in to defend the original poster. A friend of a friend backs the critics. Those comments are racking up likes and comments on their own. The comments slowly twist from political to personal. Now it's awkward and everyone's angry.

Exhausting, isn't is?

This is the problem with Facebook politics. It's not designed to be a forum for debate. It doesn't matter what argument you make, what Pew Research you link to, or Bill Maher or Bill O'Reilly talking point you regurgitate, you're not going to change anyone's mind.

News flash: you're not doing it to change anyone's mind either. You're doing it for the likes, the reinforcement and the instant gratification. In the arena of Facebook debates, you're likely confident that you have friends or resources that back you up, that tell you you're right. In person, face to face, would you really make those same arguments? Would you do it knowing there was a chance people wouldn't immediately agree with you? In the real world, there's no way for people to quantify how much they "like" or agree with what you have to say.

In the real world, you can't take it back. You can't delete the post. It's a lot harder to admit your wrong.

I was raised in a political household. Check out my other content from Odyssey; I have a lot to say about politics, sports and culture. I've put my opinions out there; I've had to follow up with stories where I had to say I was wrong.

If you really have something to say, there are better platforms to share your opinions. Start a blog. Apply to write for a publisher like Odyssey. Even Tumblr or Reddit are more appropriate forums than Facebook.

If you were confident in your beliefs, you wouldn't be incensed by an opposing viewpoint in your Facebook feed. You wouldn't feel the need to take over someone's day to type responses on your iPhone just to prove to the world that you fit into one political mindset and not the other. So if you're not doing it to change their opinion, why are you doing it?

You're virtue signaling. We're almost all guilty of it. That doesn't make it right. If you want to change the world, get involved in a campaign. Donate your time to a cause that matters to you. Support a local candidate for town council. Write to your local representatives. To change the world, your time and money are worth a lot more than a Facebook rant and a couple of likes.

So, make your time worth something, and stop wasting everyone else's.

Report this Content
This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
Adulting

Unlocking Lake People's Secrets: 15 Must-Knows!

There's no other place you'd rather be in the summer.

933067
Group of joyful friends sitting in a boat
Haley Harvey

The people that spend their summers at the lake are a unique group of people.

Whether you grew up going to the lake, have only recently started going, or have only been once or twice, you know it takes a certain kind of person to be a lake person. To the long-time lake people, the lake holds a special place in your heart, no matter how dirty the water may look.

Keep Reading...Show less
Student Life

Top 10 Reasons My School Rocks!

Why I Chose a Small School Over a Big University.

109156
man in black long sleeve shirt and black pants walking on white concrete pathway

I was asked so many times why I wanted to go to a small school when a big university is so much better. Don't get me wrong, I'm sure a big university is great but I absolutely love going to a small school. I know that I miss out on big sporting events and having people actually know where it is. I can't even count how many times I've been asked where it is and I know they won't know so I just say "somewhere in the middle of Wisconsin." But, I get to know most people at my school and I know my professors very well. Not to mention, being able to walk to the other side of campus in 5 minutes at a casual walking pace. I am so happy I made the decision to go to school where I did. I love my school and these are just a few reasons why.

Keep Reading...Show less
Lots of people sat on the cinema wearing 3D glasses
Pinterest

Ever wonder what your friend meant when they started babbling about you taking their stapler? Or how whenever you ask your friend for a favor they respond with "As You Wish?" Are you looking for new and creative ways to insult your friends?

Well, look no further. Here is a list of 70 of the most quotable movies of all time. Here you will find answers to your questions along with a multitude of other things such as; new insults for your friends, interesting characters, fantastic story lines, and of course quotes to log into your mind for future use.

Keep Reading...Show less
New Year Resolutions

It's 2024! You drank champagne, you wore funny glasses, and you watched the ball drop as you sang the night away with your best friends and family. What comes next you may ask? Sadly you will have to return to the real world full of work and school and paying bills. "Ah! But I have my New Year's Resolutions!"- you may say. But most of them are 100% complete cliches that you won't hold on to. Here is a list of those things you hear all around the world.

Keep Reading...Show less
Lifestyle

The Ultimate Birthday: Unveiling the Perfect Day to Celebrate!

Let's be real, the day your birthday falls on could really make or break it.

54645
​different color birthday candles on a cake
Blacksburg Children's Museum

You heard it here first: birthdays in college are some of the best days of your four years. For one day annually, you get to forget about your identity as a stressed, broke, and overworked student, and take the time to celebrate. You can throw your responsibilities for a day, use your one skip in that class you hate, receive kind cards and gifts from loved ones and just enjoy yourself.

Keep Reading...Show less

Subscribe to Our Newsletter

Facebook Comments