The Fun And Friendly Guide To Political Posts On The Internet


“Whoever fights monsters should see to it that in the process he does not become a monster.” – Friedrich Nietzsche

I made this graphic and put it on my personal Facebook page a few days ago with the caption: “It’s incredibly difficult to post anything political that’s a net-positive. My try ”

The flowchart is facetious, but the underlying suggestion is serious: we’d all be a little better off if we gave a second thought to the things we post.

The thing that you care about matters, so it deserves more from you than an angry post. If you truly care about something, you should care more about it than your emotions. In online postings, that means caring about being persuasive.

99% of political posts aren’t actually about creating awareness or gaining supporters. They’re mostly about signalling to your in group that you’re passionate, too. These posts can’t persuade.

You can’t simultaneously persuade and offend someone.

It’s easy, and therefore tempting, to meet violence with violence, racism with racism, and lies with lies. This is how you become the monster you’re fighting.

Righteous indignation, snark, strawmanning, revenge: these are not your allies. They will not carry your cause forward. Instead, they provide instant gratification while destroying you and your cause in the long run.

Doing the emotional and cognitive labor to present an argument that has a chance at persuading someone who disagrees with you is incredibly difficult. It’s worth it, though, because otherwise we’ll be stuck with more and more noise that doesn’t actually change anything.