Facebook messages have been shown to be an effective tool in get-out-the-vote political efforts. In the prestigious journal, Nature, political scientist Dr. James Fowler found that a single get-out-the-vote message could produce a 2.2 % bump in voter turnout. More importantly, 80% of the impact came from users sharing the message with their friends.
However, sharing your political views online can come with the risk of being unfriended if not done in the appropriate way. Here are some simple tips for sharing your political views on Facebook:
1) Be humorous. Humor disarms and is a powerful weapon to articulate a point of view to someone who may not agree with you.
2) Comment on timely topics and events. Remember the “Query Deserves Freshness” (QDF) rule of Google search which ranks fresh content on timely topics higher. Be relevant in your discussions, especially with those whom you may disagree.
3) Use an image, preferably one that promotes empathy or sympathy for your cause. Social media is about images. Without them your message is ineffective.
4) Avoid ad hominem attacks on those who do not share your views online.
5) Rely on facts and figures and data to support your position. Utilize infographics. Social issues especially are helped along by sociological data to support your position.
6) Listen and learn and engage your audience. Your audience must first know that you listen to them, before they will entrust you to persuade or lead them.
7) Timing of posts; the best time to post on Facebook is between and 9 and 10 p.m. EST. People are more receptive to messages at this time.
8) Be a consensus builder. Find small issues that you can agree with those of different political viewpoints first.
9) Be conversational. Facebook is a large cocktail party; act as though you were talking with your friends in person. Social media is a conversation and it helps to be pleasant and engaging.
10) Keep you content consistent and interesting. Facebook is not a graffiti wall in which you just post information for the sake of posting. Give thought to your overall posts. Once posted, it is out there. Even if you delete your post, chances are someone may have taken a screenshot photo of it.
The most important rule of all in discussing politics on Facebook is to use your common sense and be civil. Just as in real world conversation, civility and tone can go a long way in your online conversation.