Social Media Advice: Do Politics Belong On Facebook?

Social media experts Baratunde Thurston and Deanna Zandt answer questions about how to behave in the digital age. This week's topic: How should you address touchy subjects such as religion and politics on Facebook?

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MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

Finally in Technology, a Q and A on your Ps and Qs, in social media that is. And here to help are Baratunde Thurston former digital director at The Onion and author of the book "How to Be Black," and Deanna Zandt. She's the author of "Share This: How You Will Change the World with Social Networking." This week's topic, with the presidential race heating up, is about how to handle sensitive subjects like politics and faith on Facebook or Twitter.

BARATUNDE THURSTON: So I actually - I lost a good friend over battles about an election.

DEANNA ZANDT: Wow.

THURSTON: Yeah, it was very - it was a painful, dramatic time. I think I lost many more on Twitter...

(LAUGHTER)

THURSTON: ...because you have less room to explain in any kind of given to death and nothing through Facebook. It was real to me is that this person really strongly we held beliefs that I didn't and we just reached an impasse. I understand the challenge.

ZANDT: Well, I think the way to think about this is also not that these things are a platform, or a soap box from which the kind of push your views and thoughts other people. But we think about it in terms of sharing, of sharing what's happening here. And the other thing is to pull back and think: are you really going to change someone's mind. Is there someone who's who is against marriage equality, are they going to look in that image graphic with the funny couch and go: oh my God, you're right, absolutely?

THURSTON: Yes.

ZANDT: You know, you're not going to actually leave - you're only frustrating yourself.

THURSTON: My advice, if you really want to engage in it because of the messaging feature on Facebook. Have a one-on-one back and forth. Because the other thing about common threads it's such a performance.

ZANDT: Hmm-mm, yeah.

THURSTON: And to see other people watch and people are Liking. And it's like we will if you all of a sudden they will put yourself in a boxing ring, an and there's instigators and there's people that know betting on the fight, and Don King is there for some reason.

(LAUGHTER)

THURSTON: Don't let Don King ruin your family on Facebook. That's really the point here.

ZANDT: Bottom-line, no Don King.

THURSTON: Yes.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "MAMA SAID KNOCK YOU OUT")

LL COOL J: (Rapping) I'm going to knock you out. Huh. Mama said knock you out. Huh...

BLOCK: That's Deanna Zandt and Baratunde Thurston.

Have a question for our experts, you can e-mail it to AllTech@at NPR.org.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "MAMA SAID KNOCK YOU OUT")

LL COOL J: (Rapping) I'm going to knock you out. Huuuh. I'm going to knock you out. Huuuh. Mama said knock you out. Huuuh. Don't you call this a regular jam. I'm going to rock this land. I'm going to take this itty bitty world by storm and I'm just getting warm, Just like Muhammad Ali. They called him Cassius. Watch me bash this beat like a skull 'cause you know I had beef wit. Why do you riff with me, the maniac psycho...

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "MAMA SAID KNOCK YOU OUT")

LL COOL J: (Rapping) Listen to my gear shift. I'm blasting, outlasting kind of like Shaft, so you could say I'm shafting. Old...

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