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I am currently setting up a portfolio website to include on my resume to try and showcase some of my software development skills, but I don't have too many examples of front-end web design. For this purpose, I'm currently thinking of developing a website that displays President Donald J. Trump's most recent Tweets in real time and in an interesting way, using the Twitter API. I have no plans of expressing any personal political views or any political bias whatsoever through the content or design of the website.

My question is, is it reasonable to put politically-themed, but unbiased, content such as this on a portfolio website and not expect negative consequences?

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    People can easily project their own bias onto something like that, although that can be either positive or negative. Not to mention that spotting one's own bias can be hard (what is "an interesting way"?). – Dukeling Sep 25 '17 at 2:46
  • @Dukeling I haven't exactly thought throught the "in an interesting way" bit, but I definitely understand what you mean when you say that people will likely project their own bias's onto things like this. – DarkyTheOdd Sep 25 '17 at 3:07
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    No idea who the chap is or why anyone would be interested in his tweets – Kilisi Sep 25 '17 at 10:09
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    I'd recommend doing the project with some verbose celebrity or tech commentator. Avoid politics. Even the appearance of taking sides can derail you. – Wesley Long Sep 25 '17 at 16:29
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    If you have no axe to grind, why not pick a less polarizing Twitter subject? Can't the same thing be done with John Cleese, Governor Jerry Brown, Michael Phelps, Jennifer Lawrence, etc etc etc? – PoloHoleSet Sep 25 '17 at 16:59
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The largest problem of showing your political views in a professional environment is that it is unprofessional.

If you have the choice, avoid any correlation between politics and your work. Those sympathizing with the relevant person/ideology will be only a little bit more friendly to you. While it will be a red flag for those opposing it.

If you are sympathizing with a political view, sacrificing a little bit of your professional reputation may be a rational choice to make the world a little bit better.

It is your choice how you balance the advantages and disadvantages.

Specifically in the case of Trump:

  1. He is not only the current top Republican (= top bad guy of the opposition), but he is also the president of the U.S. So, make your project look like you are crawling data from various sources, with Trump only being a part of it, because he has one of the most viewed Twitter accounts. The focus should be on the crawling and twitter automatization, and not on politics.
  2. But there is currently a little hysteria in the U.S., it seems you have an extraordinary situation with many psychos on all sides. They can be dangerous for you. Although people tends to be more tolerant if you make clear that it is a professional work and not a political statement from you.

My personal balance is that I do political activity, with my own name, only in friendly circles. But I don't make a secret of my political views anywhere - I only don't put them in focus.

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    Would it help to add the difference between personal political projects and paid work for a political organisation? I can imagine there being a difference between "I made this thing which shows my political bias" and "This political party paid me to build this thing". – Erik Sep 25 '17 at 7:49
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    Not to mention that in this particular case the website hasn't even been created yet! If you want to create a website explicitly for the purpose of putting it in your portfolio, why even consider something political? – David K Sep 25 '17 at 12:30
  • @Erik I think it makes, but not too much. It depends on the customer. I don't know the U.S. very well, but that I know that they are very professionalists. Professionalism looks well. If you find a psycho, nothing will save you. Saying that it is a professional work without taking care of any politics, it moves the chances for your direction, but don't close out the bad results. – Gray Sheep Sep 25 '17 at 12:30
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    Right now, the USA is so divided that putting ANYTHING political in your portfolio runs the risk of getting you blackballed. It is resume poison right now. – Richard U Sep 25 '17 at 13:06
  • @RichardU I think, in such a system, the winner algorithm is to effectively hide your political preferences from the opposite side, while you can show it for yours. – Gray Sheep Sep 25 '17 at 13:24
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My question is, is it reasonable to put politically-themed, but unbiased, content such as this on a portfolio website and not expect negative consequences?

It's not reasonable.

Injecting politics into a job search portfolio invites criticism from both the pro- and con- side of the question. Folks will almost certainly ascribe biases to your project, not matter how well-intentioned. Thus, a percentage of your readers will always be turned off by your project.

Using a more neutral topic or person as the target of your Twitter API project will avoid the obvious risk. And you could certainly showcase your technical abilities without resorting to politics. You want the focus of your portfolio to be on your talent, not your choice of content topics.

There are plenty of non-political topics/people that would be appropriate and would surely lead to fewer negative consequences.

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