Political Opinions and Social Networking Should Not Be Mixed

Shannon Turgeon, News Editor

With the November 6 election fast approaching, politics have become a popular conversation topic around Seneca Valley. Students can find themselves surrounded by political discussions at all times- in the hallways, during class, and even while participating in extracurricular activities. However, those aren’t the only places where students express their political beliefs. Many people have begun to take debating to the next level by posting their opinions and arguing with each other via Facebook and Twitter.

Almost everyone who is interested in the future of our country has watched the Presidential and Vice Presidential debates.  These discussions involve current President Barack Obama and Governor Mitt Romney. The Vice President contenders, Vice President Joe Biden and Governor Paul Ryan, have also argued against each other. These debates have been highly televised and occurred throughout the month of October, according to The Huffington Post.

Unfortunately, these Presidential debates have also been the driving force behind the sudden rush of political opinions on Twitter and Facebook. It is clear that posting your thoughts on the election via social networking websites is unnecessary and pointless. In addition, arguing over politics with fellow students on these sites is completely unwise.

Obviously, everyone has a right to post their opinions wherever they please. But just because you can do something, doesn’t mean that you should. There is no logic behind tweets and statuses that have to do with someone’s political beliefs. Many people seem to believe that tweeting 50 different things about their favored candidate will somehow help them to win the election. Newsflash: nothing but an actual vote on Election Day can directly help a candidate become President.

For some reason, a number of students also think that a social networking post can change someone’s mind or convince them to support their preferred candidate. However, these people don’t realize that when it comes to politics, almost everyone thinks that their own opinion is the correct one under all circumstances. People are extremely stubborn when it comes to politics, and even the most persuasive tweet or post will likely have no effect on supporters of the opposing party. And if an intelligent and well thought out statement can’t change someone’s mind, then posts belittling candidates (for example, “Obama sucks!” or “Romney is an idiot”) will certainly be pointless as well.

The worst thing about politics and social networking, though, are the arguments. They all start the same way: with someone writing a strong opinion on a candidate or party. This person then decides that it will be a good idea to let the whole world know how they feel. They send a status or tweet, and in a matter of minutes, all hell breaks loose. Anyone who disagrees with the posted statement feels obligated to share their opinion, and soon, there are hundreds of comments or tweets. When everyone runs out of things to say, the cycle unfortunately continues.  People let their anger get the best of them, and all too often, the conversation starts to shift towards attacking each other instead of politics. Before you know it, enemies are gained and bad feelings develop. It’s obvious that getting involved in an argument like this on Facebook or Twitter is unwise, but it continues to happen nonetheless.

The answer to all of these problems is simple: Don’t mix social networking and politics. Students should shut down their computers and turn off their smartphones during debates. If they still feel the need to put their opinions online, then it is very important to think before posting. Everyone should try and make their posts well thought out instead of typing the first thing that comes to mind. Finally, students should avoid debating with each other via internet altogether.

If more students were able to see that posting political opinions on social networking sites is pointless and unnecessary, Twitter and Facebook would be much happier places during election years.