The Internet is a marketplace of ideas and opinions – with a strong emphasis on the latter. This is particularly true when it comes to politics. Countless forums, message boards and blogs are dedicated to showcasing an extensive range of opinions on various political issues. Suffice to say, people aren’t shy about making their political beliefs known on social media, particularly during election seasons. Nearly every Facebook wall or Twitter feed you look at features a multitude of posts – and re-posts – designed to convey political views. When using popular social media outlets to promote a campaign, it’s a given that you’ll be dealing with people who hold dissenting opinions. Although dealing with such individuals can be tricky, it doesn’t have to be an endless headache – provided you put the following tips to good use.
Be Selective About Who You to Respond to
Thanks to the anonymity the Internet offers, some people won’t hesitate to be excessively nasty and combative when voicing their opinions. As such, it’s in your best interest to be selective about the dissenters whose comments you respond to. If it’s clear that the disagreeable party isn’t interested in considering your rebuttal and simply wishes to goad you into a fight, it’s best that you leave his comment(s) alone. Engaging him in a fruitless argument will accomplish nothing, save for getting you both riled up. You’re under no obligation to respond to every comment made in response to one of your posts, particularly the disparaging ones.
Be Thoughtful in Your Responses
When you’re not dealing with someone face-to-face, the temptation to be snarky or condescending can be fairly high. However, offering glib responses to dissenting comments will only endear you to your hottest-headed supporters. Analytical followers and undecided voters are likely to think twice if they see you thumb your nose at people who don’t agree with your positions. As Digital Current’s Sasha Fedkevich notes, some of your social media followers may carry quite a bit of influence. That being the case, you’ll want to make a good impression on them – and offering thoughtful, intelligent responses to dissenting commenters can help you do just that.
Being open to dissenting opinions doesn’t mean you’re obligated to deal with outright harassment. If someone responds to one of your posts with comments that are vulgar, profanity-laden or outright insulting, don’t hesitate to report him to the site’s security team. You can also block people like this, thus preventing them from seeing your updates or being able to comment on your posts. Disagreeing with you is one thing; wantonly harassing you or your supporters is something else entirely.
Dealing with dissenting opinions in a mature manner is a sign of a good politician. With civility in politics at all-time lows, showing the proper respect to people with whom you disagree is more important than ever. As CBC News reports, thoughtful political discourse is all but dead in the United States. Even if you don’t wind up changing any minds, a courteous demeanor and a lack of condescension can help you avoid unnecessary arguments that stand to damage your campaign.