Published: Jun 15, 2016 12:00:00 PM

You've stared down the barrel of your Facebook timeline. You've felt the blood hot in your fingertips. Awareness has to be spread. It's an election year. Election years are horrible. People without the mental fiber to form thorough thoughts give way to medieval skull bludgeoning. The effort is simpler. The effect is similar. It works great on Facebook, too!

It's a waste. Not a total waste. Keeping atrocities top of mind, and who is responsible for them, is vital for remembering who the villain is. Social media does its job there.

But how can we assure the proper people receive the proper message?

This isn't difficult. As always, consider your audience. What is your goal when posting a story about the good your candidate has done? What is the goal when posting a story about the ills the opposing candidate has done?

If it is only furthering an existing narrative, judge whether the narratives continuity is important to reiterating a point: like a mantra. This is the reason you're planning to vote for them.

You can post that on Facebook.

That is often a half-measure though. Votes change elections. In order to steer an election, you need to change votes. That's difficult to do on social media. We've built silo-kingdoms for ourselves on our newsfeeds. It's hard to poke holes in our own armor to let in light, darkness, and relatives.

But friends and actual acquaintances are what social media is meant to be about. It's what social media does best. In an election year, it's a reminder that if you want to steer an election and capture hearts and minds, you need to remove yourself from social media's echo chamber if you want to really change votes. Those changes take place in personal conversations, away from the public arena. It's alarming when a friend or follower on social reveals themselves to be a supporter of violence, racism, or fascism. Make no mistake, this is that sort of election.

If you expect them to change their minds because they saw your fist-sized wall of text on Facebook, you're being near-sighted. Furthermore, if you get into a clash of written words on a post, you're starting a street fight. Right now, there is nothing more that both sides would love. But we cavemen. We're modern humans and we need to be better.There are 3 kinds of stories worth sharing on social media during an election year:
    A story that re-emphasizes the narrative. It reminds people that Repubicans are a spineless, weak, dying, cowardly breed that fear their mothers.A story that veers well to the side of the narrative. It would best be something that is a first-hand account of an event, a personal experience. A lot of messages on Facebook and Twitter are third-hand potification within the narrative. Side-step that.A story that requests a deadbeat friend or relative to not vote for True Evil. Don't be angry. Be yourself speaking to them. Ask them to do, please. This isn't an invitation to debate. They know they're being a "rebel." They like the feeling. Ask them to come back to reality. This isn't gym class.
Or, just call your bigoted uncle in Virginia and ask him directly over the telephone. He's mostly just nervous his racist friends at his thursday night golf league will make fun of him if he votes for a woman.

-- Alex Crumb
Twitter | Facebook

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