Politics, Facebook and Thinking before Clicking

Good Morning!

The election is over now, a new Prime Minister has been elected and Facebook is littered with positive and negative comments about last night’s outcome.

I had the opportunity to hear both outgoing Prime Minister Harper’s concession speech and Prime Minister Elect Trudeau’s victory speech and regardless of the campaign tactics, platforms and values, it was clear that both men care deeply about their country. For that, I respect both of them add even Mr. Mulcair for that matter. Congratulations to everyone on using this election as a means to raise issues and propose solutions. We all have a voice and that is what makes our country the best in the world to live in.

Before this election I didn’t follow politics as much as I should have. As many small business owners will agree, we all live in our own little worlds. Winning client confidence, negotiating with suppliers, delivering a good product and standing by your brand promises is not only necessary but time consuming and likely a tremendous barrier as we try and negotiate our work/life balance.

To “hack” my time constraints and informational deficiencies, I regularly scanned social media so I could quickly curate the opinions of my friends and clients, read articles that were shared and reconciled the differences using Google.

As a business strategist and digital marketer, I strongly advise my clients to maintain political and religious neutrality online and in business conversation. We all have values and beliefs. Because we are such a diverse country and every opinion is unique it’s important as leaders of our organizations and leaders in our fields to remain positive, diplomatic, and respectful. Furthermore, it is important to bifurcate and clearly differentiate what we believe personally from the outlook of our organizations. What makes our country and our companies great is that we have multi-variate rather than unilateral beliefs and values. It is through the diversity of our thinking and ideologies that we present ourselves and execute as problem solvers and tactical solution providers. It is the sum of the unique minds that allow us to create, innovate and think outside the box.

This is why it came as a tremendous surprise to me when people started calling me an NDP sympathizer, a Liberal, a lefty, a righty, a Harper supporter and even a tree hugger.

It was humorous, amusing and confusing all at once and I couldn’t understand where it had come from.

Last week I was having breakfast with a close friend and colleague who told me that he loved me even though I was a Liberal. I challenged him on his comment and asked him to support his claim.

What surprised me the most was when he opened his newsfeed and showed me numerous posts made by Justin Trudeau and Liberal supporters that I had “liked”. As I scrolled through his newsfeed I found several other “endorsements” I had made by liking posts from the outgoing Prime Minister and Mr. Mulcair as well.

It all started coming together. Here was my takeaway:

  1. Every click, like or share is an endorsement. Although in our minds the post ceases to exist after the click event it in fact begins at that time to permeate throughout our social media network.

  2. Although your clients, colleagues, employees and friends don’t like or comment on everything you post they do stitch together what you like, what you post, what you comment on and what you share to develop conjectures on your ethics, beliefs and ideologies. In many cases they will use this data to construct the larger picture of who you are, and use that to decide whether or not they want to do business with you.

  3. We are held accountable to everything we publish online. Once it is live it can never be fully scrubbed and that action is now, forevermore, associated with our names and the brands we are a part of.

The reality of it is that there were parts of each of the three major political platforms that I agreed with and disagreed with. I did not confidently lean in any particular direction and I genuinely support both all and none of these parties.

What I am a supporter of is a strong, robust and fair Canada that is diverse, respectful, and full of opportunity. I am a supporter of great education and a safe, sustainable environment for our children to grow up in. Finally I am a supporter of diverse opinions, perspectives and thought leadership that inspires us to expand our minds, broaden our horizons and consider things from new perspectives.

Regardless of how you voted or what your ideologies are I respect you for taking action, having a voice and making our country better. It’s through this passion and effort that we will continue building a legacy for our families and firmly plant our roots on the international stage as a world class nation.

Click responsibly. Have a great day.


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