No one wants to be That Person on Facebook.
You met That Person once at a college house party ten years ago but you’ll be stuck with their Bernie Sanders content for the rest of your life. That Person is always going on and on about politics and “cultural issues.” That Person doesn’t seem to have a job but is qualified to speak with authority on pretty much every single topic, from the state of healthcare in the U.S. to Donald Trump’s dick. When you read That Person’s posts, you can basically feel them frantically typing and scream-crying “LISTEN TO ME!!!!!” through the screen.
You are never That Person. Oh no. The worst thing about them isn’t their shitty political opinions or sometimes casual racism. What makes you sick about That Person is their total lack of self-awareness. Facebook is now the epicenter for political “conversation,” like a town hall, only everyone speaks at once and has dribble running down their face. You can’t just bust out a newsy screed and expect people to engage. 1n election season 2016, that’s quite frankly no longer enough.
You want that #I’mWithHer post to really soar? The strategy is simple: Couch your political opinion in an apology. Walk it back, baby. People need to know “you don’t usually do this” or they are scrolling on past and not smashing the like. Before you get the intellectual ball rolling and spark some real primo conversation, you need to convince people of one thing: you are not That Person.
We know this complex game of digital manipulation isn’t easy. It’s takes skill and subtlety—things Facebook is terrible at fostering. So, to help you out, we’ve mined thousands of factually questionable tirades about the illuminati, the Clintons, and chemtrails to bring you this guide. Employ any of these tactics at the beginning of your post and we can assure you no one will realize you are really That Person.
Don’t be tacky
Did your parents teach you not to talk politics at the dinner table? You’re not usually so gauche as to discuss the future of the Republican party in PUBLIC, but once in a while Ann Coulter is so on point that something needs be said. Make sure everyone knows you would never ever, but “this is honestly so important.” Example: “I don’t normally do this…”
Assert your qualifications
Are you currently a fourth-year PhD candidate in political science at UC Berkeley? You’re gonna want to lead with that. You’re not just any old motherfucker who casually thinks Bush did 911; you did your master’s thesis on Loose Change, for heaven’s sake! Example: “As someone who has extensively studied the impact of the oil industry on North America’s seals at top-tier universities…”
Express your feels
Did you just watch a video that made you so totally overcome with emotion? Sometimes a piece of content will float across your desk and force you to share it. When you find yourself struggling with so many feelings, remember that likes are the only thing that will make you feel better. Example: “I’m sorry to do this, but I’m so upset I just have to share…”
Check your privilege
Are you a white guy whose views on #BlackLivesMatter are potentially irrelevant? Make sure you show you are so bae and so woke by acknowledging your level of privilege up front. If you don’t do this, people could write you off as That White Guy, which is arguably worse than being That Person. Example: “As a white cis male, I know it’s not my place to comment on recent events but…”
Be a truth-teller
The world is awash in lies; It’s the most full of shit it’s ever been. But we are lucky that in this day and age we have tools to clean up the mess. People come to Facebook for the real facts, and you have the chance to be the hero no one asked for but everyone needs. Don’t you dare let that meme about harmful effects of Coca-Cola go to waste. Example: “I can’t believe nobody's talking about…”
Game the system
Life's not fair, and neither is Facebook. Don’t pull this lever often, but when you’re really in a bind, you can lean on the algorithm. Yes, they’ve turned our feeds into a hellscape, but on the flip side you can just mention the words “engagement,” “marriage,” or “baby” and your marijuana legalization rant will light up. Example: “I’m getting married! I’m having a baby! This country’s….”
Deputy editor of Real Future.