Can small business feed open dialogue and better communication in a politically polarized environment?
Editor's note: This is part one of a two part series. The opinions soley reflect the author's views, Latin Business Today provides a platform for perspectives on both sides of issues.
Social media in many ways has been a blessing to small business. Advertising is quicker and easier and in many respects, cheaper then in the past. The resources of social media are available to everyone allowing small business owners the ability to create and send out coupons, special event reminders, and plug new inventory with a few key strokes. We can even create a following to see how many people really love our products and services.
A boiling caldron of social media and party sides
Be that as it may, there is another component to social media which many business owners tend to forget about, the easy accessibility to our personal life and views. The simplistic mechanics of social media allows for quick and easy posts as well as, immediate feedback to a post. But as we've seen with celebrities, big corporations, and other media centered individuals, a poor post can turn ugly in minutes damaging reputations, relationships, and businesses.
Even if the post was not meant to be offensive, once it is out there, the damage is done. One of the biggest “hot buttons” when it comes to unintended (and sometimes, intended) offenses is politics, and here we, beginning our electoral process for the next President of the United States, a boiling caldron of social media and party sides.
If there's one thing on social media there is no shortage of, it is opinion and when politics gets thrown into the mix the opinions really fly. It's no wonder our politicians can't get along and work things out. Just take a look online and you'll see everyday folks are just as divided as our Senate, House, and Executive Office.
In the past I've voted both Republican and Democrat, just going with who I like. To be honest, sometimes it's who I like and other times it's the lesser of the evils. I don't look to social media for candidate information because it is so blatantly full of hate. And the hate comes from both sides.
The social media I use the most, as do many of my friends and family, is Facebook and on Facebook there are die hard conservatives and die hard liberals. In either case the hate is there via language, word twisting articles and even flat out lies. I would like to consider it all healthy debate but it's not. There is no meaningful conversation only huge amounts of disrespect for the opposing side. I'm glad people are loyal and passionate but I'm no longer willing to read the posted commentary, articles, or “facts”. As a result, I've decided to stay off Facebook until after the Presidential election.
If there's humor to be found in any of this, it's when I see the same exact story posted on both sides of the divide. It's a “grab your villain” and “insert name here” type thing. Usually the horror story or “article” is about some atrocity committed by a candidate stock full of paranoia and fear mongering; if it's a conservative post then a democrat is the villain (Pelosi, and of course, President Obama are the big winners there), if it's a liberal post then a republican is the villain (Bushes usually win that one with any new GOP candidate as second runner up).
Once I realize the “article” is just spam that I've already read for the opposing side, I move on. The sad thing is, I don't think the person who posted the article knew it was spam and believes what they posted was true.
I've also read posts, a.k.a articles, about candidates, that originate from satirical magazines or websites and are shared via Facebook as fact. The post goes up followed by a string of comments, usually supporting the cause, until someone finally posts a comment pointing out the information is from a satirical website. Oops! We've all fallen victim to forwarding something that was out-dated, flat out wrong, or satirical, thinking it was news worthy only to be informed by a friend that, well, we'd been suckered.
Fact and fiction become so entwined most people can't tell the difference and fact checking goes out the window with the rest of the emotional hot air blowing around in politics, especially during an election.
Next- Capturing my vote and Our day jobs!
About the author
Lynmarie McCullough was born and raised in New Jersey and is a graduate of the University of Maryland. She’s a seasoned production coordinator, having worked with VH1 / MTV Networks, SONY Electronics and various production companies. She wrote and produced a short in 2009, which was shown at the Wake Forest Film Festival. She published her first children's book, The Grand Hall Character Ball, in 2010, and in 2011 co-authored, Marshall & Planet Saurus with her seven year-old son. The books are available on their website, www.mcculloughbooks.com, where her son hosts videos as well.