We’ve officially arrived at what I term “the most loathsome time of the year”: the home stretch before the U.S. presidential election. Tis the season for snarky, condescending, angry and vulgar statements plastered all over social media.
This year, I fear, will display the most hostile comments we’ve ever seen, as two candidates with unprecedented levels of unpopularity face off.
In the habit of friending customers on your personal* account? I implore you to remain neutral online. To clarify: I am not endorsing apathy. We are all entitled to our opinions and, as responsible citizens, we should form them. But be mindful that voicing your thoughts on the election can have repercussions for your business.
If your friend list in any way resembles mine (which it probably does — a bulk of my friends are florists!), you have followers on both sides of the political aisle. If you post something deriding a candidate, you will likely aggravate a number of friends. If you do it often, the offended parties might select to hide your posts (eliminating opportunities to catch their attention with posts about your shop) or unfriend you (in which case, they’ll probably select a different florist).
Even if you pen a thoughtful, intelligent and respectful post, you just might have a friend who can’t resist the urge to comment with something obnoxious. Their potential nastiness becomes your dirty laundry, broadcasted online for all to read. I witness this approximately 10 times a day. It makes me feel all kinds of negative emotions, from embarrassment for from friends to despair about the decline of civility.
In my (humble) opinion: the proper channel for political discourse is face-to-face with close friends who will love you even if they do not agree with you. Discussing heated issues in person allows for facial expressions and body language, real-time questions and the chance to say “time out” if people get too upset. Best of all: there’s no transcript posted online for all the world (or at least your friends) to see!
*I believe it goes without saying that you should not post anything political on your shop’s account.