Building better political communities online

The best defense against misinformation is knowing facts, says Sharon McMahon — who works to promote healthy and open political dialogue online.

Courtesy of Chris Montgomery via Unsplash.

Much of what goes viral online these days are things that shock and outrage us, and it’s not uncommon for those things to relate to our politics. Sometimes it’s made up of misinformation that spreads from one social media platform to another.

Sharon McMahon is trying to do something about it. A former high school government teacher turned Instagram influencer, she digs into political and government-related questions through online workshops, a podcast and Instagram account called, “Sharon Says So.”

The community McMahon has create on Instagram is made up of over 970,000 followers. On her online channels, people of different beliefs come together to investigate political and governmental topics, but also to better connect with Sharon.

“We can’t have hard conversations when all we’re doing is making fun of each other’s appearance.” — Sharon McMahon, podcast host and Instagram influencer

Listen: Cultivating more open, empathetic internet communities.



Sharon McMahon is a former high school government teacher who runs the “Sharon Says So” Instagram and podcast accounts that promote factual, nonpartisan content. She says people on the internet need to have open, empathetic rules that invite people into political conversations.

“We can’t have hard conversations when all we’re doing is making fun of each other’s appearance, when all we’re doing is making fun of somebody’s accent or calling somebody names,” McMahon says. “We can’t have meaningful conversations based on that premise.”

Trusted, accurate, up-to-date.

WDET strives to make our journalism accessible to everyone. As a public media institution, we maintain our journalistic integrity through independent support from readers like you. If you value WDET as your source of news, music and conversation, please make a gift today.

Donate today »


  • Detroit Today

    Dynamic and diverse voices. News, politics, community and the issues that define our region. Hosted by Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Stephen Henderson, Detroit Today brings you fresh and perceptive views weekdays at 9 am and 7 pm.