Expert talks about moving on after devisive election season

5:26 PM, Nov 6, 2012   |    comments
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ST. PAUL, Minn. - This year's election has been a divisive one, especially on social media.

After months of very opinionated tweets and status updates, some are wondering how to get back to being on friendly terms?

From the Presidential race to the Minnesota marriage amendment, the choices are controversial and often times very personal.

Shonda Craft, assistant professor of Family Social Science at the University of Minnesota said, "I think people are just being encouraged to be more vocal because they have more outlets to do so whether it's on Twitter or on Facebook or in person."

Talking about issues on social media is actually a good thing, according to Craft.  She said activism online is opening up conversations we may not otherwise have had. 

But heated comments have also made some wonder if they should unfriend friends on Facebook.

Craft said if friends are posting election-related comments online that anger you, just don't respond.

In fact, she said, try looking at their posts this way.  Instead of opposing your viewpoint, perhaps they are just strongly advocating for their own.

It's true that people have been very passionate, and in some cases divided, about the candidates and issues.  So once we all know who has won and who has lost, how does everybody best cope and behave?

Craft says if your candidate loses, don't think all is lost. 

"What did they raise to the surface that people will continue to talk about?" she said.

She said keep the conversation going and put your energy into finding other ways to advocate.

And if your side wins, be kind because those you care about may not be as happy. 

"I think there's sometimes an assumption that the people we hang out with, and the people that we love, share our opinions.  And sometimes we get surprised," Craft said.

Ultimately, on the other side of the election we're all going to have to get along. 

That's why Craft said, "I think it's important to try to create a space for dialogue."

But she said it is OK if it takes a little time before you're ready to talk again.

(Copyright 2012 by KARE. All Rights Reserved.)

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