Valdosta Daily Times

What We Think

October 24, 2012

The politics of unfriending

VALDOSTA — Have you unfriended a Facebook friend because of political posts? Have you unsubscribed a friend, acquaintance, co-worker or relative from your Facebook News Feed because you either disagreed with their political opinion or because you tired of seeing them post their political opinion repeatedly?

If so, you are not alone.

And don’t worry, it’s more than a Valdosta or South Georgia trend. During this election cycle, people have been unfriending one another throughout the nation, according to a recent article “Unfriending the Enemy: Politics overload drives Facebook users to cut ties” in Time magazine.

The article cites a Pew Research Center study claiming one in five social networkers “has blocked, hidden or unfriended” people who post political items too often or are too disagreeable in their political postings.

Facebook was around four years ago for the 2008 election, but it has played a major role in the 2012 presidential election and is now working its way into local elections.

If you follow Facebook, for example, during any of the presidential debates, you have likely watched as several of your friends have posted comments regarding one candidate or the other’s performance. You have also likely watched as people have posted numerous derogatory remarks about one candidate or the other. You have possibly found some of those posts so disagreeable to your political opinion that you have blocked one or more poster from your News Feed … at least one in five of you have.

During the past several weeks in South Georgia, Facebook members have likely encountered friends posting their support for area candidates for offices such as county commissioner, state representative, sheriff, or state senator. While most of these posts are simply people saying why they support a particular candidate, even this has begun to change in the past few days as some people post why they cannot stand their candidate’s opponent. In some cases, it’s awkward enough to discover Uncle Bob’s political opinion for president differs completely from one’s own, but it seems almost embarrassing to encounter a poster denigrating someone in the community with the same political venom.

Of course, it’s even more awkward to read the posts of family members who disagree politically played out on the public Facebook forum. Why would anyone want everyone to know a father or son, or mother and daughter, vehemently disagree on who should be the next state senator or the next president or even the best fast-food restaurant … but that is apparently part of the ugly side of the social networking beast.

Perhaps, Facebook users could apply a lesson that many a bartender has enforced for years in pubs. No discussion of politics or religion at the bar. It saves people from arguing and even physically fighting. On Facebook, it may spare people from being silently unfriended.

Text Only
What We Think
  • Meet the artist

    His prints are innovative, energetic, colorful, insightful.

    April 24, 2014

  • Program works to make men

    The idea is to change patterns.

    April 23, 2014

  • Missing persons: Fill in the blanks

    Missing persons cases are tough. They are tough because they are vague.

    April 20, 2014

  • He is Risen

    Now on the first day of the week, very early in the morning, they and certain other women with them came to the tomb bringing the spices which they had prepared.

    April 19, 2014

  • Thumbs up

    THUMBS UP: To Carol Mikkelsen. Valdosta State University Opera’s “Dido and Aeneas” marks the last production before Mikkelsen’s retirement
    after 44 years with Valdosta State and the creation of the opera program. She plans to continue
    working with VSU part-time, but this weekend’s performance marks her last full-time participation with the opera productions. Ovations all around for her work.

    April 18, 2014

  • Feed the hungry, adopt a duck

    If you haven’t already adopted a duck, you have a little more than a week to do so.

    April 17, 2014

  • If I were mayor

    Each year, the City of Valdosta holds an essay contest, “If I Were Mayor,” with students in the area writing their ideas about what they would do as the head of the city.

    April 16, 2014

  • The real lessons of a mock drill

    Valdosta High School’s Students Against Destructive Decisions held a powerful mock demonstration Monday morning on the school’s campus.

    April 14, 2014

  • Kudos to VPD

    Followed by a stellar report on Sunday about the drop in the crime rate in the City of Valdosta, city police officers prove their worth once again by arresting a dangerous fugitive in our community.

    April 13, 2014

  • It just plain stinks

    After every rain event, the pungent smell of sewage can be detected around the rivers and streams of south Georgia, and Florida residents brace for more to float their way.

    April 13, 2014

Top News

Given the amount of rain recently, what's your favorite “rain” song?

Singing in the Rain
Purple Rain
Have You Ever Seen the Rain?
November Rain
Rainy Night in Georgia
     View Results