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September 21, 2012 09:52 PM

Election Brings Fights On Twitter And Facebook

Sioux Falls, SD

Even virtual mudslinging gets pretty dirty.

"It just ends up turning not even into politics anymore," Kelsey Thomas said.

Kelsey Thomas is studying biology at Augustana College, but the freshman will get a lesson in politics this fall when she votes for the first time.  However, every time she logs on to her Facebook and Twitter, she sees political posts that lead to fighting, name calling and swearing.  These are not from any of the candidates; these are some her friends.

"I've definitely unfollowed on Twitter and blocked on Facebook, some people who get way too carried away with political posts," Kelsey Thomas, Freshman, said.

Another Augie freshman who is originally from England said social media smack downs can not only get ugly, they can be distracting.

"I think sometimes you forget the fact that we're all the same and we're all in it together and there is something that we're all aiming to do," Augustana Freshman James Jennings said.

According to a report from the PEW Research center, more and more people on Facebook and Twitter say these sites are important for staying politically informed.

Social Media expert and Click Rain president Paul Ten Haken said posting politics will not help bridge the two party gap.

"Religion, Packers/Vikings, none of them create the anger and rage that comes out when political debates take place on social media," Ten Haken said.

Ten Haken said he is no stranger to a good political debate on his Facebook and Twitter, but airing out your political feelings online can be a social media 'don't' because it can come back to haunt you.  Rants and fights online can not only wreck personal relationships, but even put your job in jeopardy.

"It's just safe to kind of walk the middle of the road and if you're going to post about politics.  There's nothing wrong with engaging in politics, but just not in such a polarizing way," Ten Haken said.

For Thomas, the election cannot come soon enough.

"I can just go back to the normal social media that I used to know before the past few months," Thomas said.

  • Politics
  • Campaign
  • Sioux Falls, SD
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