By Haley Hinkle
WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) You may want to think twice before you press that Facebook share button, especially went it comes to posts about politics. Besides getting into a hostile argument with one of your friends or co-workers; there’s a possibility that what you’re sharing may not even be accurate. We are all for empowering women to express their opinions but make sure you do a little fact checking first….BE SMART!
As one of the most plugged-in generations, millennials have a reputation for getting and sharing their news online, and the presidential race is no exception.
Last month, Pew Research Center data showed that 35 percent of 18 to 29 year olds consider social media the most helpful resource for news on the 2016 election, topping other online and television news sources.
Frequently, young people are not only reading about politics on social media, they are posting about it, too. More than 60 percent of millennials said they get political news from Facebook in a given week, according to a June Pew report.
Sharing politics on social media has potential consequences, though.
Liz Sheehan, the president of College Democrats at Loyola University, said millennials’ familiarity with social media makes it easy for them to post about politics. But on her own Facebook profile, she does not share posts without fact checking them, she said.
“I see a lot of inconsistencies with quick things you can press ‘share’ on really fast on Facebook and Twitter, and I think that can be viewed poorly, a person who doesn’t do research,” Sheehan said. “I think that would be the biggest thing going against millennials, to just hit that share button.”
Patricia Rossi, etiquette coach and author of “Everyday Etiquette: How to Navigate 101 Common and Uncommon Social Situations,” said young people must realize that their social media posts are permanent, but their views over time will likely shift and change.
“Social media isn’t a place to play,” said Rossi. “It’s our resume and our business card now.”
Posts about strong political opinions threaten to alienate friends, co-workers, family members and others in your network who may read them, Rossi said.
“You’re never, ever going to change someone’s political opinions face to face in a (single) conversation,” she said. “A tweet is probably not going to do that either, especially if it’s hostile.”
Speaking freely about politics on social media not only affects your relationships, it can also cost you your job. This month, Ohio police officer Lee Cyr was fired after he commented “Love a happy ending” on a Facebook post about the suicide of Black Lives Matter activist MarShawn M. McCarrel II.
Before you get to the point of avoiding political hostility, you have to have co-workers.
It is hard to truly know how human resources professionals perceive strong political expressions online, said John Rossheim, a senior contributing writer for career website Monster.
“You would suspect, just because right now things are so volatile … you would have to guess that it does happen,” Rossheim said. “HR people tend to be very averse to controversy.”
Rossheim added that young people should choose a workplace that balances a respect for their political views without being homogenous.
“If you’re very young and can afford to take more risks, it’s a shame to constantly seek out, at least in your mind, (a place) where everybody thinks the same way,” he said.
LinkedIn career expert Catherine Fisher said that, while online profiles present an opportunity to give employers an idea of your personality, you have to express those behaviors within reason.
“Your future employer is going to be looking at this, so you want to be sure that you’re showing up in the best way possible,” Fisher said.
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“It’s such an opportunity to position yourself as someone that people want to work with.”