My Probably Unpopular Relationship With Social Media and Political Civic Engagement

Source: http://www.cityofventura.net/files/image/departments/city%20manager/CEHeader2.jpg

I’m not sure the word is “excited” so much as “eager” to share my opinion on the assigned Medium post this week. We’re tasked to share our relationship with digital civic engagement, and that started to get me thinking as I’ve always had a strong opinion about not having a strong opinion on my social media about the government or politics at any level.

Let me explain.

I think it’s very important for someone to be involved with the world around them and the decisions that are being made by leadership on all levels (local, state, country, etc). We live in a world now where it is very easy to impact change via multiple platforms on social media. I dig the fact that many people can have a strong voice collectively via tweets, retweets, hashtags, tagging, link sharing, and other trend-generating techniques. I’m appreciative that there are people who share my views, being pro-active at making sure the changes I’d like to see happen potentially happen in my community, in my state, and in my country.

Source: http://hospitalityresourcemanagement.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/smp.jpg

But I’ve had a long-standing protocol for myself to not use any social media platform that I am currently involved with to be the method I utilize to get involved politically.

I think this stems from many things. I think that when trying to build a brand (in my case via Youtube and other sites), it’s important that you don’t necessarily indicate a political leaning unless you are trying to specifically capture that base for the product you are generating. People considering utilizing your product or supporting you and your brand may make the wrong assumptions about you from where you stand on certain things politically and end up not becoming a part of the community you are trying to build.

I also hate posting political statements and materials on my social media for other reasons, including:

  1. I don’t believe I’ll change enough peoples’ opinions for the post to be worth posting.
  2. I like the social media material I generate to be fun and relieving, a contrast to the anxiety that political positioning may generate.
  3. The political entities I am opposing or going to bat for do not care about what I can potentially lose in social currency for doing so.

If there is a specific topic I feel EXTREMELY passionate about, I may post something about it, but make sure to make it sound as objective and gray as possible. I make sure to tell others that it is my own personal opinion and do not use strong language that bashes the opposing side.

I think that digital civic engagement is great. I think that governments and their actions can no longer hide from or silence people, and that is a good thing. I’m glad that others can voice their opinion, but personally I will use other venues to do so.

-Jason

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