There are three rules to Bartending. Don’t talk about politics, don’t talk about sports, and don’t talk about religion.

Back in my previous life as a bartender, before I traveled around the world and then landed in real estate, these three rules were golden. When your life depends on tips from customers the last thing you want to do is to alienate someone. Inevitably people at the bar were going to talk about these things. But any good bartender knows, these are three taboo topics you don’t want to get involved in, especially if you are going to take the opposite viewpoint.

IF you are going to break this rule, sports is the safest rule to break as it has the least “values” rooted emotions attached to the subject out of the big three. (But don’t get me wrong it is still a highly volatile topic for some)

Now of course there’s always the option to pick whichever favored party, belief, or team the group is talking about but then you have two problems. One; usually there is always a debate going on so inevitably you will disgruntle someone. And two; if you have integrity you can’t just step in on the other side of your own belief system just to make a little extra cash.

I think in social networking (now this is just my opinion and some may share it and some may chuck it) one should be very introspective when deciding to express political or religious views. If your purpose for social networking is to gain clients and build a community around your brand, product, services or goods then you may want to be aware that your publicly expressed views could cost you business.

If your brand is your politics or religion then that’s a completely different story. You are trying to only find like minded people to share your views and opinions so then you are using social media absolutely correctly in that sense. But if it’s not…then you may close off a whole segment of the population who otherwise may have been interested in what you are selling.

Unless your goal is to only sell and retain a clientele that conforms to your political and religious views, you may want to think twice about expressing them in public forums.

I reserve these types of discussions and debates for friends. Not colleagues and not potential clients. Though I’ve been known to get into these kinds of debates with total strangers in far flung countries, but I wasn’t trying to sell anything. A friend usually will forgive you for not sharing their beliefs, the rest could cost you a sale.

You’ve already got a lot of things to juggle in order to be successful in the current economy, why add something else?