Candidates have been campaigning since, well, since the end of the last election. Whenever and for whatever office that involved.
But campaigning has officially arrived on social media.
How to tell:
1. You think you’ve seen the same photo, graphic or list of problems or accomplishments posted by both sides of an issue.
2. You know you saw the same photo, graphic or list etc.
Everyone has an opinion or point of view on any number of topics or issues – political, educational, legal, sports or personal.
Good for them.
And they “post” their views, the 21st century version of standing in the town square and questioning whether that Continental Congress knew what it was doing in 1776.
Good for them.
This writer was a late bloomer to social media. There was a job, raising our daughter and the Atlanta Braves were winning division after division.
There was an immediate benefit to joining this social media world, reconnecting with two high school friends – we played baseball together – after we had lost touch.
Back to people, opinions and social media.
When people try to defend or sell their point of view, they offer information, data, statistics, reasoning to back it up.
Well, most of the time.
Trying to persuade others to come over to their point of view?
That is a lost art, judged by social media.
More and more posts simply hammer home an opinion or stance because … well … that is what the poster believes so it must be right because that is their view.
A growing number of posts attack other posts. The goal seems to be to “troll” someone they disagreed with, poke them and watch them argue.
And this writer can report that the opinioners, crusaders and trolls are out in force.
Even a Facebook page devoted to cartoonist Gary Larson’s “Far Side” sank into what daughter “Grace” called “full-scale snark.”
The page specifically has “Non-Political” in its title, but had to ask posters to refrain from politics, attacks and it blocked some comments.
To a cartoon depicting two ducks in their living room.
Big-time social media sites have come under fire for not regulating or casting a close eye on certain posts.
In this line of work, the word censorship gets tossed around when that is mentioned.
Of course, those who cry out for more scrutiny from social media sites usually want those posts from only one side of the political spectrum reviewed.
It’s the “Of course, I’m offended. They don’t agree with me,” argument.
The risk of an open forum is you will hear and read things you don’t like or agree with.
No one is required to have an open mind or surrender anything he or she believes in because someone else has another view.
The middle-of-the-road suggestion to judging social media is look closely at what pops up.
Check its source, its attribution, who is posting this and ask the simple question, “Does this really make sense?”
One of those phrases that stays in your head for years comes from U.S. Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr.’s dissent in Abrams v. United States in 1919.
The justice disagreed with the 7-2 majority that upheld the conviction of two men under the Espionage Act of 1917 for opposing U.S. involvement in the Great War.
Holmes offered the expression “marketplace of ideas,” that people should be able to express themselves and let the public embrace, oppose or just ignore their views.
This particular marketplace does not rank, promote or judge ideas. It lets the reader decide.
Social media has its own expression akin to this marketplace.
“Just keep scrolling.”