We’ve all come across instances like this, where we digitally stumble upon two people engaged in blood-boiling disputes on Facebook or Twitter. We picture them off in a dark room somewhere, teeth clenched, sweat beading their brow, furiously hammering away on their keyboards… and we chuckle to ourselves.
Oftentimes it is people whom we don’t know, digital friends-of-friends; we click on their profile picture(s), judge them silently and immediately, laugh at their oxymoronic opinion, and move on.
You see, there is a nefariously fine line between participating/engaging in a controversial exchange on social media and making yourself look like a complete and utter clown… for the entire social network to see.
On one hand it’s a good thing, because we are talking about important societal issues – even if it means hearing opinions from people who we think are bat-sh*t crazy.
On the other hand, perhaps these conversations are better suited for the real world.
This brings me to today’s lesson; the ability to see someone say something wrong (or counter to your opinion) and not say something about it is an important social media skill to have –whether you’re a company or an individual.
Think about it this way: you would look like a complete and utter buffoon if you were attending a cocktail party and you suddenly broke out into a loud argument over some hot-button topic, say gun control or abortion.
The jazz band would get irritated, you’d get stern looks from your superiors, and in perhaps the cruelest twist of fortune of all: the waiter delivering champagne would likely ignore you for the remainder of the night.
Facebook is like the cocktail party of the social media world. You show up, catch up, mingle a bit, hear some interesting stuff, share some interesting stuff, then repeat.
My point is that if you’re looking for an argument, there are spheres of the digital realm better suited to debates –maybe try an MMA forum or something.
There is a time a place for everything… I think the Bible – the original Facebook – mentioned something about that. And it couldn’t be more relevant in this digital situation.
As English politician and man of wisdom Edward Gibbon once said, "I never make the mistake of arguing with people for whose opinions I have no respect."