This post is not about the election. It’s about the social media aftermath.
I went to bed last night at my usual 10 p.m., having reached my daily peak of exhaustion. It takes a lot to keep me up any later on a weeknight. A sick child, a gripping movie, a foot-stomping concert? Yes, maybe and perhaps. The presidential election results? Not so much. It’s not that I didn’t care. It’s that I was pretty convinced the guy I didn’t vote for would win and figured the next morning, after a solid eight hours of restful sleep, was soon enough to learn the news.
So what happens? I wake up to find the guy I did vote for won. Say what? I’ll admit I was excited for and proud of our president, and I wanted to share my enthusiasm. But I have a lot of Republicans and/or Romney supporters in my life (including my husband) and didn’t want to rub salt in anyone’s wounds. This is what was in my head when I logged on to my computer to post about Obama’s victory.
What did I find on Facebook? A whole lot of openly hostile as well as passive-aggressive posts from adults, a picture of the Statue of Liberty with her head in her hands, and a post from a teenager saying something to the effect of “at least I know my parents didn’t vote for him.”
What the f*ck, Facebook?
So I, the perpetual Pollyanna, post this: “I’m ALWAYS proud to be an American, to have freedoms and choices, and I love ALL my friends and family, regardless of their politics. I’m for keeping Facebook politics free. Anyone with me?” Not a single comment or “like” (at least not yet). I also posted this image of and quote from Thomas Jefferson.
Wow. Four-hundred and fifty-nine Facebook friends and not a single one believes we should stand together as Americans and respect the collective voice of our nation? Now that’s something for the Statue of Liberty to be ashamed of.
And so I ask you, Facebook friends, what do you get out of attacking our president online? I understand that you’re angry, disappointed, frustrated. But is Facebook really the right forum to express those feelings? Will your electronic-courage-fueled posts effect the positive change you claim he is incapable of producing? If you are that angry about the current state of affairs, why don’t you get out there and volunteer, run for office, do something to be the change you want to see in our country?
Whatever you do or don’t do, I would really appreciate it if you stopped clogging my Facebook news feed with your vitriol. I go there for the cute baby pictures.
Excellent! I’m posting this on my FB timeline. Enough.
Thanks, Stephanie. And I agree: Enough.
Exactly my sentiments.
You have been very quiet on FB lately. Election related? Hope all is well, longtime (not old) friend!
Awesome post Kathleen. Couldn’t agree more!
Thanks, Heather! I wonder if anyone will “unfriend” me for this one. 🙂
I definitely hid some posts and unfollowed some people on Twitter yesterday. Some because of excessive whininess, some because of excessive celebration. I really think that it would have been the same thing, just from different people, if the other guy won. It seems a human nature thing, and also just a sort of curse of social media that most people think they can just toss things out there, like spaghetti to see if it will stick to the wall. It stinks!
I think you are absolutely right, Kiki, on all points. And it’s not as if I’ve never posted a political opinion or link. However, I try to be respectful of the other side. That’s really all I’m asking for here. I’m Pollyanna, remember?
Thanks for your comment.
what steams me the most about all of this- is the number of PARENTS pulling this crap, allowing their impressionable kids to be witness of it. WHEN WILL IT END?!? it’s disgusting to me.
I’m with you, Christina. We live in a pretty conservative small town, and some of the “facts” my kids share that they’ve overheard at school astound me. Since ours is a bipartisan household, our kids hear both sides. I hope that will make them more openminded adults. Fingers crossed.
Yes. I couldn’t even go on Facebook last night when I was watching the election returns.
I’m still seeing some random rants TODAY! I wish people would move on already.
I do not have a problem with people posting their opinions, political or other, on Facebook. I am a willfull FB participant and understand that I chose to log in. What does offend me is ignorance and arrogance. This needs to be a bi-partisan country if we are planning on living in peace. I teach my children to have their own opinions while respecting their neighbors. It should not be that complicated.
No, it shouldn’t. Unfortunately, it seems to be.
I’m with you on your fb posts and would have liked them, had I seen them. My feed has been really affirming…nothing rude from the nonsupporters, nothing chiding from the winners…
Sorry things aren’t looking as Rosey on your feed. 🙁
Girl, that’s because you live in CO! I need to get my butt out of the Midwest already.
Thanks for stopping by!
I would have liked that post right away.
The “noise” from both sides today has been deafening. I’m very tired of it.
Thanks, Tracie. And I agree: Both sides were guilty of it. Ugh.
I agree with you completely. And I am almost always annoyed and puzzled by the diatribes and rants some of my “friends” post on FB. I don’t get it. But I suspect the lack of a favorable reaction has to do with people thinking this is their God given right and you dared to question that.
You’re right, I’m sure. In any case, I steered clear for the rest of the day and was much happier because of it.
I find comfort over at Twitter where ALL the people I follow are openminded. If they aren’t, I unfollow them. Facebook is more political. I don’t feel I can just “unfriend” someone because I don’t like his/her remarks. But I CAN hide those types from my newsfeed.
I would have liked your status and I *love* that picture and quote. Vitriolic diatribes can be tough to stomach on Facebook. And the mindset that the 50% of the nation who likes the other guy is somehow the “enemy” is actually worrisome.
That being said I think that issue-centered snark can be okay provided it doesn’t say stuff like, “People who voted for issue X are terrible, horrible people and I hate them.”
There are two issues that I unabashedly put front and center in my social media life, snark and all: women’s reproductive health and gay rights. So last night when Todd “legitimate rape” Akin lost, for example, I posted a celebratory FB status update about the legitimate female voters shutting that whole thing down. I realize that’s a really offensive statement to someone who strongly supported Akin and I’m okay with that because I believe it’s very important that rape apologist language gets called out by as many people as possible otherwise attitudes surrounding the issue won’t change. If feathers are ruffled so be it.
Great post! And I’m totally going to share that Jefferson quote and pic on FB!
Thanks, Larks. I absolutely agree with you. I am an ardent supporter of a woman’s right to choose and a same-sex couple’s right to marry. Frankly, I don’t understand how either right could be a question in the first place.
Ruffled feathers, be damned!
To be perfectly honest, the people who would agree with you probably did what a friend of mine did and installed politc-blocker on chrome. It replaces political posts with pictures of cats. Yes, really. Yo uprobably got lost in the spam. And honestly, I’m so sick of the election that even calls for centrism on facebook annoy me at this point. My friends have stopped because about a month ago I posted something to the effect that they were ALL pissing me off. After that, I only saw one insult about Mitt Romney’s Teeth (huh?) and one remark that Obama started the Frankenstorm (again HUH??) to make my blood boil.
I hear ya, Jessie. I’m done talking and reading about it.
Pictures of cats sound pretty lovely at this point.
I would have liked your FB status! It all starts with the candidates bashing each other…
Oh, I hit reply before I said I LOVE your ending – so good.
Thanks, Stacie. If only the bashing would stop once the election ends. Grrr….
I am friending you Facebook right now and sharing your posts with my Facebook crowd. Mine don’t respond well to me either, but at least you’ll know you’re not alone in every one of these sentiments. Great post. Loved every word!
Thanks so much, Mary. I would love to be your FB friend. It sounds as if we both could use a little support over there.
I love this. I have to admit I did post one excited, gloating FB post last night, but I also congratulated Mitt on a hard-fought campaign, and other than ReTweeting some Twitter snark, I’ve tried to keep it clean. It’s amazing how divided we’ve become, and people can try to blame it on the candidates all they want, but the truth is they’re the ones who are giving into it.
Thanks, Ashley. You are so right.
And I am not totally innocent here either. I made a few comments on Twitter as well because I know my audience over there is openminded. And I’ve posted a few links related to abortion rights and same-sex marriage on FB because these are important issues to me.
I ended my post with a Facebook rant today, too! Move on people. Stop slinging mud and move on! I’m not going back on FB until next week! I want baby pics, too! Loved this post. Win or lose, it’s time to unite!
Thanks, Gina. I need to pop on over and read your post. I have been a terrible Yeah Write friend this week.
Anyway…you are absolutely right. It’s time to unite and move forward.
I’ve hidden posts from my Republican friends. I know that seems a little ridiculous, but I just take them too personally. In my mind, if you were for Romney, you are against women. Also, there has been such a racist backlash against Obama – and I just really can’t stand it. So – hidden.
I’m much happier that way. About 99% of my friends are just as liberal as I am, so my Facebook feed actually entertains me.
I don’t think it’s ridiculous at all. I’ve thought about doing it too.
I guess it’s the whole “car crash” thing I mentioned above. I don’t want to look, but I can’t help myself.
I feel like people lose their filter when they are posting online because there is no one in front of them to say ‘wtf are you doing?’ I can’t imagine that 99% of people would talk that way in face to face interactions…you’re supposed to save those conversations for your husband and your bff 😛
Yes! The electronic courage factor has been huge with this election. People need sticky notes on their computers that say, “Think before you post.”
I’ve read a number of blogs now commenting on how vicious their Facebook feed had become. I’m in Canada and I saw some political comments on your election, but I agreed with them so wasn’t offended. They were also issue-specific rather than personal attacks or bigotry. There was some celebrating the next day but it was restrained and I limited myself to “liking” the comments. If my feed were full of politics (especially ignorant/divisive politics) for weeks on end, I would probably deactivate my account! It’s just not the right forum, as you so eloquently said in your closing line.
Thanks, Azara. The problem is that Facebook itself is very socially political. There are people I just can’t “unfriend” because of their views. But as others above have pointed out, I can certainly hide them from my news feed. And I just might if they don’t simmer down.
It was a tough day to be on FB yesterday. Both sides, at least among my friend list, were just crazy and emotional. I hope it calms down soon. A friend of mine posted the same quote by TJ and I love it.
I’m still seeing some rants in my feed today. Sigh…
It did get pretty crazy on there. And on Twitter election night — both sides. I think that’s the good thing about Twitter, 140 characters is manageable. Facebook posts allow for overkill.
Me too Jamie…I guess I need to apologize to my facebook friends. I am wondering how many friends I might have made bristle. But I hate walking the fence anymore. I am getting too old to hide out!
Jamie: Yes, indeed. I cringe whenever I see a post with the “read more” link at the end. If you have that much to say in a FB post, you need to start a blog.
B: You have to do what makes you comfortable, right? If speaking out on Facebook is your thing, go for it.
Thanks for stopping by!
I had blocked a bunch of friends earlier this autumn after I posted a picture of me about to shake the President’s hand and got a crap-ton of crappy remarks. I was embarrassed for them. I was on facebook during Bush’s presidency and never posted anything disparaging, no matter how I felt. I use facebook for positive things and wish others did, too.
Kudos to you! I wish there were more people like you on Facebook.
Every word. I love it and it was me too. I Went to bed; I figured the other guy won and I vowed to just stay positive if a little cynical. I can’t believe the vitriol. Best last line of a post ever. Bravo
Thank you, my election night soul sister! I’m very happy about how things turned out, but I refuse to rub it in.
I’m with you. I rarely post on Facebook, anyway, and I sure don’t post anything political. Its so disheartening to see the ugliness and immaturity.
“Disheartening” is the perfect word. I have barely been on FB since all the BS started Tuesday. It hurts my soul.
I can’t keep my mouth shut, ever. But I do think that we can respectfully disagree with one another. Fighting and being nasty won’t change minds. Rational discussion could. I had to avoid Facebook yesterday, I couldn’t take it.
Right on, Michelle! Rational discussions are definitely in order given the current political climate. Could someone please fill our political leaders in on this?
So agreed: Here’s what I posted on my fb page in response to all the “America is screwed” posts: Dear Republicans: Rather than declaring America is screwed, put politics aside and turn your complaints into positive actions. The real change many claim Obama failed to bring was the result of a partisan firewall. We will continue to be halted when we have leaders who admit, “From day one, our goal was to ensure Obama did not get reelected.” Not only did you fail there, you failed your nation with your divisive, stubborn practices. Please, please, please — let’s put the “United” back in U.S.A.
I also shared the same image/quote on facebook earlier this week. I loved this post!
Thanks, Angela, and I LOVE your Facebook post. United we stand!
Pingback: Lessons Learned (Vol. Five) | ateachablemom
I agree, Facebook is for fluffy, I love you, I’m jealous of your lunch. You actually took a shower stuff…not politics.