Firm News

Social Media & Politics: Some Don’ts

August 31, 2018

There’s an old saying, at family dinners you don’t talk about politics or baseball.

There’s good reason for this: These topics tend to polarize and toxify otherwise happy gatherings.

If you spend any time on social media platforms, particularly Facebook, it’s nearly impossible to avoid being bombarded by friends espousing their political views. Oftentimes these are done IN ALL CAPS, and are full-scale rants, with endless back-and-forths that strain friendships and turn people off.

Whatever one’s political affiliation, most people understand that a platform like Facebook is primarily for an individual speaking one’s mind and speaking for him or herself. While using inflammatory language is never a good idea, such a platform is understood to be a public forum.

I would like to remind people that clients and business prospects are often our “friends” on Facebook, and that the risks of offending such people should be obvious.

As for business social media platforms, particular caution and restraint must be taken. I regularly monitor LinkedIn, and recently saw an exchange that raised my eyebrows. A person wrote a post that was highly critical of a politician who is regularly in the news, that was accompanied by an unflattering meme.

This person was immediately admonished by several people for politicizing LinkedIn, with several saying that as a business platform and networking tool, it is inappropriate to impose political views on others. I should note, no one agreed or disagreed with what this person posted, the focus was on the fact that on LinkedIn, politics is something you leave at the proverbial door.

As we head into midterm elections, we will be overwhelmed by overheated rhetoric from all directions. Exercising caution is strongly recommended when posting comments on Facebook, and postings of a political nature should be avoided entirely on platforms like LinkedIn.

Jordan Friedman is a Partner at Bond Moroch.