Posting on Facebook about politics is often considered a bit low rent, and the more respectable sorts post their political thoughts to Twitter or whatever. However, Facebook has an advantage over Twitter when it comes to spreading political messages- there will be people who read your post who respect you for reasons other than your political views. People who see what you write on Twitter generally either respect you for reasons related to your views, or don’t respect you at all. People you know on Facebook however most often have some kind of relationship with you that marks you out- however slightly- as more than a stranger.
What I want to propose you do is use that opportunity to make a powerful, heartfelt post to appeal to those with ears to listen. Facebook posts are no silver bullet, but they are not insignificant either. A really good Facebook post seem by a few hundred friends is probably worth a couple of hours door-knocking. A really good post might be equivalent of a whole day’s door-knocking, or maybe even more. Think of it as like an opportunity to make a short speech in front of a few hundred people- many of whom will be undecided. Not doing this is like leaving a 20 dollar bill on the ground.
Here’s some dot points to keep in mind when writing your status:
- Convey sincerity by explaining why this all matters without the use of political jargon, in personal terms. That doesn’t necessarily mean in terms of a personal anecdote, it could also be in terms of a deeply felt value.
- Show the audience that the campaigns of Corbyn & Sanders are not merely rare, they are unique- they represent a once in a lifetime break with politics as usual.
- Project strength. Make the case that these campaigns can win.
- Make it clear these campaigns are for everyone, even people who don’t think of themselves as the target demographic.
- Paint with the correct emotional palette. I would suggest that palette is hope, compassion and earnestness (Faith, hope and charity, in terms of the virtues).
- It’s very important to not make any factual mistakes , in the fray of social media you don’t want to leave any opening.
- Don’t be ashamed of your candidate’s policies, however here’s no need to be deliberately provocative or a controversialist either.
- If you get into an argument on the status with a conservative critic, remember that a lot of apolitical people might be watching. It’s really important to remain graceful and good natured. Play your cards right and they might strengthen your argument.
- In some ways the (literal) classics offer the best guidance. One good checklist is to aim at creating a sense of pathos (emotion), logos (reason) and ethos (good character- both your own and the candidate’s.)
After you’ve made the pitch it’s time to make a call to action. It’s easy to just say “vote” or “register to vote”, but you can go beyond that. Offer people who are inspired a sliding scale of options to get involved, from sharing the status, to writing their own, to donating, to door knocking. Maybe include links people can follow to get involved (or learn more) in the comments. I’d advise against making the post as a whole a link though- a status is less likely to be filtered out of many news feeds by the algorithm.
Attaching the status to a photo of yourself doing something pro-Bernie or Corbyn- preferably a photo with charm and heart- or putting such a photo in the comments, is also a good idea.
While it’s probably best to plan in terms of making one big post, you obviously should keep posting content throughout the campaign. A second, third or fourth bite of the cherry with additional heartfelt pitches is probably also a good idea, particularly on the days leading up to, and of, the election.