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Online posts and politics

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CAPE GIRARDEAU, MO (KFVS) -

With the Presidential Election just about a month away, if you log onto Facebook or Twitter, you're bound to see a few political posts.

"Things you wouldn't say in everyday conversation you'll say on your Facebook feed," said Stacy Dohogne Lane of Cape Girardeau. "Social media brings up a somewhat anonymous platform for people to express their views, so I think in general people are a little bit braver than they are in everyday life."

Lane said she doesn't necessarily "like" the online comments.

"I think the unsubscribe button is a beautiful thing on Facebook, so there are some people I'll go back and subscribe to once November 6th is over," said Lane.

She said she agrees with a quite she heard saying online posts should only express ideas that will bring together the political parties, not polarize them.

Lane said she doesn't think online political posts will change minds or votes.

"It's completely out of context, you don't know the type of situation it was asked in, they're singling in on one tiny little phrase, the whole picture isn't there, so I think that's why they're not necessarily very educational because you don't get the whole gist of it," said Lane. "Posting something that's inflammatory, or it's extremely one side or the other it doesn't really help anyone involved, you're not going to change anybody's mind for sure."

Cape Girardeau Councilwoman Kathy Swan said those quick characters struggle to relay an entire political message.

"The quick snippets of the technological world of communication these days are not comprehensive enough in order to form a full educated opinion," said Swan.

Lane is in charge of the social media activity for the City of Cape Girardeau Visitor's Bureau. She said she tries to keep the posts business industry related.

"I think in terms of a business, I do all the social media for Visit Cape, and it's just something I steer very very well clear of, I mean we're in the tourism industry we are not in the political business at all, so I just keep it light and friendly don't even mention it, if you looked at my social media stuff you wouldn't even know there was an election going on, and that's the way it should look," said Lane.

She said from a public relations standpoint, business owners should think before they post.

"I do think if you run your own business, there is something said for standing up for what you believe, but I think you should really keep in mind that you really can drive people away with some of those views," said Lane.

For business or personal uses, online etiquette can be a point to debate. Lane said she thinks it should be like conversation you would have in person, polite.

"I think it's always in polite conversation you don't talk about religion, you don't talk about politics and you don't talk about money, and maybe it wouldn't be such a bad thing if it was the same way on Facebook as well," said Lane.

Lane said social media has also changed the game for political candidates. They now can reach voters through another platform, but also have another avenue they have to watch their moves.

"I do think social media has added a whole new ball game for the candidates, there is no room for missteps anymore," said Lane.

Lane will teach two classes at Southeast Missouri State University on how social media can work for you and your business. You can find that information here.

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