My Facebook regrets

While on Facebook I saw a friend had posted a political video. I watched the video and thought, wow, this is really great information. So, I shared the video and posted why I thought it was worth watching. An hour later I started to have regrets. I had justified to myself that the post was somewhat non-partisan, more issue based, but I knew in my gut it was still a political post. I also know and teach that sharing or talking politics online or off is bad news. So, I deleted the post. 

I’m not going to say this is the first time I’ve posted something political on Facebook. Oh, no, I’ve done this one or two other times and also eventually came to my senses and deleted the post. This etiquette consultant is not perfect. Not by a long shot.

Why do I do it when I know it’s wrong? Because I get caught up in the emotion of the subject – whether that’s excitement or anger. And, then after the emotion has faded my head takes over and reminds me what an imprudent move it is.

I try to remember how I feel when someone posts something political. I sometimes get upset, and if it’s ongoing, it can change my opinion of this person for the worse. I don’t want to be barraged with political messages in my social network, so I remind myself others probably don’t either.

Is it ever OK to post political messages on your social media sites? Yes, if the following conditions apply.

1. You know for a fact that every single one of your friends shares the same political beliefs you do and don’t mind seeing political posts.

2. Your privacy settings are set so that only your friends, not even your friends’ friends, can see your posts.

3. You don’t give potential employers your Facebook password.

Or alternatively, forget conditions 1 through 3 if this situation applies:

You don’t care if you might lose a friend, a job or a client by posting political statements. Or you’re in the business of politics.

As far as I know I haven’t lost any friends or clients because of my errant ways but, who knows, I might not be aware of it. But, having written this post, and examined why I have posted political posts, I do believe I will never do it again. And, if you, my dear readers, see that I do, please call me out. Yes, sometimes the etiquette consultant needs etiquette lessons.

How about you? Have you posted political messages online? How do you feel when others post such topics?



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Arden Clise is founder and president of Clise Etiquette. Her love for business etiquette began in previous jobs when she was frequently asked for etiquette, public speaking and business attire advice by executives and board members. The passion for etiquette took hold and compelled Arden to start a consulting business to help others. Read more >>


  1. readysetgrow on April 11, 2012 at 4:52 pm

    Thank you for this post, Arden! I also shy away from posting anything that might be remotely considered “political”, but what I have found is sometimes, even when I post something I consider innocent – it stirs up something in people.
    My most recent example is the recent fiasco with Susan G. Komen and Planned Parenthood. From a Social Media standpoint, the entire thing was so amazing to watch. And, I posted something about that specifically. What ended up happening was an argument about the merits of women’s rights, etc. NOT MY POINT at all.
    Thanks for sharing your experience. 🙂

  2. ArdenClise on April 11, 2012 at 5:57 pm

     Hi Tracey, it is amazing how easily something can be taken the wrong way. And, how quickly comments can turn nasty. That’s the downside to online conversations. Without the face to face it’s easier to forget we’re talking to a real person.
    We can’t control how people will take things, but we can control how we react. And that’s when I sometimes have to step away and calm down before I respond.
    Thanks for commenting.

  3. BethBuelow on April 14, 2012 at 5:38 pm

    Arden, with the election season in full swing, your post is extremely timely! Like Tracey, I tend to avoid posting political items… and sometimes, something I didn’t think was political was perceived that way! So many things from religion to health care to equal rights have been overly politicized, it’s almost impossible to avoid. I don’t expect everyone in my Friend circles to agree with me, and it’s OK if they post something that counters my beliefs – that’s what free speech is all about. If we only surround ourselves with exactly like-minded people and only listen to/read those who agree with us, we’re doing a disservice to the conversation.
    If someone is thoughtful about it – not inflammatory or purposely trying to get a rise out of people – then I say share away. If I don’t like it, I can unfriend or hide their posts.
    That said, I NEVER share politically oriented info on my business Page, and I don’t allow others to post that on my Page. It serves no purpose but to stir the pot, and people seem to do a good job of that even without political provocation! 🙂

  4. ArdenClise on April 16, 2012 at 4:52 pm

     Beth, really great points. Someone on my Facebook page had asked what would have happened if the Egyptian people couldn’t share politics on Twitter. They probably would not have been able to let the world know of their plight. That’s an extreme example and not something we encounter on a daily basis.
    But, you are right discourse is important and being open minded is very important. In fact, if more of us were more open-minded, myself included, we’d probably have a lot less hate, judgement and pain in the world.
    I just struggle with posting something controversial like politics or religion on SM because it can serve to polarize people. Plus with employers and financial institutions scrutinizing our social media posts I just think it’s better to keep those topics out of the public eye.
    Thanks for commenting. Much appreciated!

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