Behold the powerful potential libertarian influence found on social media
By: Darrell England
I’ve been running a new Facebook page called Liberty Thunder for the past several months. It already has over 3,600 “likes” and often it can have political news, graphics, or messages scheduled to post every hour for a good portion of any given day. More than enough posts get such decent “share” value that I also include a daily post selection on my personal wall of almost 3,500 friends and growing. I have not been told social media was a bad place to post about politics in years. I also don’t remember ever being asked to post less frequently, even when I specifically posted that question. I personally believe libertarians should be doing well this election in converting voters in possible contrast to some recent articles I found online which I found some problems with.
Here’s the first problem, Mental Floss tweeted a message about their article, stating “Political Facebook Posts Don’t Change Minds, Study Says.” The article cites a study by Rantic that polled 10,000 Facebook users, categorizing users as Republicans, Democrats, and Independents.
— Mental Floss (@mental_floss) August 17, 2016
That leads us to the second problem. The article does not specify libertarians were polled at all. I wouldn’t necessarily call that our problem, if it weren’t for comments I witnessed initially concluding this issue also referred to libertarians though. The article goes on to explain “About two-thirds of the study’s participants also said that social media was not an appropriate place to discuss politics.”
But that finally brings us to the third problem. The link they used to refer to the study itself, leads to an article by another well-known website that had its article contents updated to be stricken.
Good result: fake survey story zapped. Well done Wired. Note to writers: query surveys with no data. https://t.co/fhnu4i3ygK
— Charles Arthur (@charlesarthur) August 19, 2016
I know the national Libertarian Party has been experiencing a major increase in registered voters without any major consistent radio and television ads. So I contacted the Social Media Manager for the Libertarian Party of Indiana, Rodney Benker, and he stated:
I see minds change every single day. Social Media, particularly Facebook, allows for people to have real conversations. Granted some conversations look like insults and yelling, I’ve witnessed people evolve from one side of an argument to another. For Libertarians, Social Media is really all we have. Even with Gary Johnson climbing the polls, we still do not receive a tenth of the media coverage the other two political parties do. Yet, we continue to grow, and we will continue to win. There’s absolutely no way social media has not been a large contributing factor to this.
He also sent me a graph showing the increase of Facebook ‘likes’ for the page he manages for the Libertarian Party of Indiana:
I don’t know how accurate the study must have been for the experiences of others, but it doesn’t seem to reflect the experiences the majority of my libertarian Facebook friends and followers have, per the feedback I was given:
— HAGJewels (@HAGJewels) August 18, 2016
— Dan Duke (@DanDuke641) August 18, 2016
Even a writer for Liberty Viral weighed in, commenting:
The comments, points, and experiences go on and on. Have you been promoting Gary Johnson on Facebook? Do you feel Facebook is an appropriate venue now to weigh in your political opinions? Have you seen a massive decrease in your friends list in making political posts? Do you judge others that do if you don’t? Comment and let us know.