Sunday, August 8, 2010

Can we talk about not talking about religion and politics?

When I got my very first Social Media account, which happened when Social Media was just web 2.0, I was really excited about the opportunity to exchange all types of ideas with my friends. My account was a Livejournal blog, and I figured, "Hey, I'll post about things I'm interested in and like discussing, people will discuss with me, and all of my far-flung friends will be sitting in the same room."

Two topics that I find endlessly intriguing are religion and politics. This might be a bit of a shock as I have discussed neither here and have only hinted at them via my various other public accounts. When I first started posting to Livejournal, I had no restraints, so I posted all kinds of opinions, questions, frustrations, etc. And my friends didn't participate much. I was shocked. I was frustrated. What was going on?

Some people said that they didn't like voicing their opinions because they felt people thought their opinions were dumb. Others said that discussing such things always leads to nasty fights or "LJ Drama" as we called it back then.

Since most of my Social Media activity now is for business, I have taken that hesitation of my friends to heart. As I see some folks pumping out their political opinions, I can see the wisdom in refraining from delving into these areas. Sometimes people say things that rub me the wrong way, but I don't feel comfortable debating the issue.

My question for you is: Is this a healthy environment? People are making a big deal out of how networked our world is. We can do business with people across and around the globe now. Don't different religious or political backgrounds come with that as a packaged deal? Don't we have an opportunity here to share and learn and educate in ways we never could before? The word "yes" echoes in my head, and yet the sad truth echoes as well. If you don't like my political leanings, you might be completely turned off to the concept of doing business with me. If you don't like my thoughts on religion, the same result could occur. All we have as introduction are words on a flashing screen. Words are powerful. Words verbalizing religious or political views are like nuclear weapons.

What are your thoughts on this issue? I know that the ladies at Outspoken Media would say that this is the exact kind of cowardice they are preaching against. Do you censor yourself? Why or why not? I'd love to hear your opinions.

Image by Aaron Murphy.


dannybuntu said...

"Is this a healthy environment?"

Yes and no. :)

Yes, because it creates boundaries between your professional and personal life. Think "insulation".

There was a Chinese quote on that, but I am getting absent minded-sorry. :/

No, because your personal life figures greatly in your professional life.

I'm going to be bold and hope that I won't offend your beliefs now:

Religion is, has been and will be a factor in our lives - regardless of what we think about it.

The problem with that is that there are too many of them and they often come into conflict with one another!

We are automatically branded when we take a stand - even if you don't subscribe to a particular religion.

It's inevitable to be perceived by others and that's why people avoid showing their beliefs as much as they can.

My short answer:

Go with your goals.

How would you like to be perceived?

Who are your professional acquaintances? Clients? prospective clients?

Who would you like to do business with?

How would you like them to see you?

People tend to do business with people they share values (moral, political, etc) with, unless it is absolutely necessary that they do so otherwise.

The same goes with politics.

Pastor Lisa said...

I don't post my political views but that doesn't keep people from making assumptions about what my political views are. Some guess real wrong and hold conversations with me as though we are on the same side of the fence based simply on ethnicity.

Or others who are familiar with my "Sunday job" assume I my views are bent in another direction.

So even if I don't speak on political issues; there are numbers and Gallup polls that say more than likely I'm this and not that.

People I do business with may assume the same as well. I can't help that. I simply choose to keep my politics out of public view.

Now as for religion, that's just out there for everybody to see...there's no hiding that part of me and I'm cool with that.

I discuss my faith at length on my blog...but then it's a personal blog too...a ministry tool. I'm supposed to talk about matters of faith.

In depth, open discussions on sex and politics? Never from this kid. Religion or matters of faith? Definitely.

Real Life Mad Man said...

You both make really good points. Some companies brand themselves as a "faith-based organization." For them, weaving their faith into their business is a matter of course. Does that potentially lose them some opportunities? Probably. But then they know that the people who do work with them are either of the same mind or don't let religion get in the way.

I didn't even mention sex...I'm getting enough spam comments as it is :)

Thank you both for your comments!