Two of my five adult children (millennials in their thirties) are avid users of Facebook, Instagram, and other social media. Even though I’m writing this advice to them, it’s intended for the masses.
Hey guys – it’s your old man here with some “unsolicited advice.” If you read it without bias, it could really help you. If you don’t, it could hurt you. So indulge me, if you will.
Anyone who visits your Facebook page instantly knows your political views. While I am delighted that you are passionate about the future of this country, your views and opinions could be considered extreme and quite polarizing to many others who are on the complete opposite end of the political spectrum. And you’re probably keen to the fact that everything you post, share, or ‘like’ immediately goes into the great vault of public information in cyberspace where it will be available for anyone and everyone to see. Forever.
Here’s the thing. Actually, two things you need to consider:
1) Your real friends (people whom you’ve truly spent time with and could recognize across a crowded room) already know your views; in fact, they very likely share those same opinions. That’s because a shared view of the world is often the basis for a friendship. These kinds of friends do not need further convincing; you’re like the minister who’s preaching to the choir.
There is, however, another and probably much larger group of people who will see these posts. In this group are those who may be a casual acquaintance of yours or of a friend; or a friend of a friend of a friend whom you’ve just happened to accept as your Facebook friend. The people in this group may, or may not share your views, and because they don’t know and trust you as a real friend, your posts have little or no influence on their views. Most likely, they’ve already unfollowed your feed.
But there’s even a bigger reason that you need to abandon your political rants, sharing, likes, etc. on Facebook and other social media:
2) Your next boss, or prospective client, or future angel investor in your startup is going to want to know who you are and what you stand for, and you need them much more than they need you. They are going to do their due diligence to determine if you are a person they want to align with. It’s entirely possible that that key individual sees the world quite differently than you and will thus eliminate you from any consideration based upon your views. I’d hate to see that happen.
ON POINT – This is not some imagined or fictional scenario. It happens all the time much more than you may think. I’m a witness to it.
The bottom line is your posts and ‘likes’ aren’t helping to advance your candidate – or your issue – one iota. Zippo. Nada. Unfortunately, broadcasting your political leanings could end up killing the opportunity of a lifetime for you. Is it worth it?
Oh, and by the way. This advice applies to all millennials. Even those in their fifties.