Down the Rabbit Hole: Are Political Debates On Social Media Really “Worth It”?

DownTheRabbitHole

By Anna-Jeannine K. Herman, Wedding Entertainment Director®, “Performance Professional”

Making the choice to weigh in on a controversial issue on social media can be a difficult one as these issues are often tied to our very deeply-held personal beliefs and inner cognitive dissonance. However… what if the real to-debate-or-not-to-debate decision didn’t have anything to do with that?

Believe me: I get it. I come from a long line of revolutionary and rebellious folk, myself — the first German-Americans, American Revolutionary Soldiers, Officers on both sides of the Union/Confederacy divide, Bootleggers, and hippies. I certainly don’t agree with all – or even most — of their convictions, but I share their very opinionated nature. When faced with a debate on social media, this side of me often says “SOAPBOX!” I’m also from a Southern legacy – a special breed of people with some very… particular… views on what ought and ought not be discussed in “polite” conversation. This side of me says “show demure restraint, please.”

However, while it’s easy to turn this conversation to one about moral conviction or manners… that’s the same kind of debate I’m about to encourage you to see for what it truly is: an imposition on your time. Like you, I’m more than just a rebel or a just Southern Belle. I’m an artist, an entrepreneur, a mother, a wife, and most relevantly, I’m one heck of a priority manager as I consider the potential return on the investment of my time. For me, the proposition of debate via social media is rarely a winning equation, so I asked a few of my friends to weigh in, too:

Dave Ternier, WED®, of Special Request Weddings in Manitoba, Canada shared an experience with me that I’ve lived through, myself: “I cannot tell you how many times I’ve written a response, and then rewritten it, and then deleted it twenty minutes later.”

Why’s that, Dave? “Because it’s not worth my emotional energy… it just generates more notifications and more notifications I don’t need which will negatively impact the successfulness of my day.”

In other words: time spent writing, revising, and curiously reading comments – whether agreeing or disagreeing with your view – is time NOT spent honing your craft, serving your customers, and otherwise managing your business. Regardless of your socio-political/moral views on any given current issue, you have an existing obligation to provide certain support to your prospective clients, current customers, and colleagues. It’s a commitment a shrewd businessperson ought to take to heart as a promise made to be honored.

Michael Durham, WED®, of PatrickMichael Weddings in Knoxville, Tennessee agreed. Sometimes, he admits, he does “go down the rabbit hole” and read discussions, but every time he does, he can’t help but wonder “Why did I waste thirty minutes reading all this…?”

Chasen Shaw, WED®, of PartyBox in Stillwater, Oklahoma asks “How important is this? It puts everyone off… you’re shooting yourself – not in your foot – you’re shooting your self in your groin.” He also cautions about the permanency of fleeting convictions – what takes a moment to post can endure “People can screenshot it; people can print it; it’s there, forever.”

So – is it ever a good idea to share? Maybe…

Shaw sees the ability to restrain personal outbursts an essential component of a seasoned MC. People want to work with a “fun, gregarious, enchanting personality. Do you just spout off on the mic?”

Ternier says, for him, if there’s a time and place to share, it is not social media. That’s for “another place and another time where I might have higher odds of accomplishing what I want to achieve with my words.”

For Durham, he considers the invited opportunity, one-on-one as an open door to encourage a deeper, more genuine relationship with clients in person. “If my couples bring it up,” he told me “I share my views with them openly.”

Bottom line: If you choose to weigh in, do so judiciously. Be sure of your position, and present your thoughts in a way that makes the sharing worth your time.

Is it worth it, to you and your business? Why or why not? What do you stand to gain or lose through your social media interactions?

Photo courtesy of: Dennis Crider Photography

 

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