Facebook and Closet Conservatism
As CDN’s Facebook presence has grown, I’ve been watching an interesting trend emerge – closet Conservatism in social media.
Closet Conservatives are those that agree with most or all of the tenets of the ideology but wouldn’t necessarily want their closest friends and relatives to know.
They may have several copies of the Constitution in various forms, have read the Federalist papers, know who Hayek and Keynes are – but they don’t want their inner circle to necessarily know of their interest in these things.
There are many reason to keep ones political leanings tucked neatly away. Perhaps their families and friends lean to the left or don’t have any interest in politics.
This behavior is well-known when face-to-face interaction is expected. It is considered common decency NOT to discuss politics at a bar or party. It is frowned upon to discuss politics at work – unless you work at an online political news outlet …
What I’ve noticed is that these rules of interaction seem to have been carried into the social media space.
While our fan page is growing very quickly and we are seeing high numbers of Facebookers “talking about” us, what’s interesting is how. While just about every single post is greeted with “likes” and some comments – sharing is done only by the most vocal – those who haven’t had any problem letting everyone else know what they think or that are already activists.
When someone ‘Shares’ a post, it – and the sharer’s comment – appears on their Facebook Wall and is broadcast to all of their friends through the FB News Feed. Alternatively, liking a post does not include the commentary that would signify approval or dissent.
That made me think back to my first few forays into Facebook. I had at first used my personal Facebook page to talk about baseball, shooting, the family and yes – politics. Some in my family are still stuck left-of-center and were put-off by seeing news and opinion from anything not to aligned with what the MSM had been telling them. At first, I actually gave in to the pressure and just concentrated on the fan page instead for political discussion – I was doing it too!
I’ve since gone back to discussing everything that is me – yes politics too – on my Facebook page and have shared my favorite posts from the CDN Facebook fan page – maybe a few of them will actually get a few of my family or friends that aren’t thinking about this stuff – to think about it.