I appreciate the people I interact with on social media. Rarely has anyone been unkind. However, I often see articles about social media behavior with the theme, “Please Be Civil!” and “Stop the Hating!” The writers come from a place of disquiet because they feel harassed when they see unhelpful, angry posts. That’s understandable.
Here is what I try to do to help my social media outlets remain an oasis:
- Avoid hot topics. I “get” that some might think I’m a coward, disingenuous, shallow, or worse, for not stepping into the steamy pot of political goo. But here’s how I see it: offline, I have people to talk to about hot topic issues. We understand each other and can converse when we both agree and disagree. For me, stirring the pot with people I don’t know as well is not productive. So why go there?
- Don’t challenge the debate team. Those spoiling for a fight are the ones who will look “bad” in front of thousands of people by making rude comments aimed at you or your beliefs. They won’t diminish you unless you take the bait. Don’t do it.
- You won’t change anyone’s mind. Whether on or offline, the lure of arguing is that you think you will change hearts and minds. I fell for this trick too many times in my younger years. I’m not sure I ever changed anyone’s mind, but I alienated people, sometimes fracturing relationships beyond repair. Truly, this price is too high for minimal effect.
- Resist jumping into someone else’s argument. Sometimes people commenting on my posts will venture into politics when that was never my intent. I let them have their say, but I stay out of these disputes.
- Don’t hold anyone responsible for statements made by others on their social media. I’m in contact with all types of people, so I might not be in 100% agreement with every response. The older I get, the less offended I become by opposing viewpoints. It’s hard to understand others at times. Looking for offense, both online and off, will guarantee high blood pressure and never peace.
- Remember you are not anonymous. Before posting, ask yourself if you would make the same comment in real life. Your keyboard doesn’t have an invisibility cloak.
How do you keep peace on social media?
Do you disagree with me? I promise not to argue if you do!
Do you like my approach, or do you enjoy the debate on social media?
What tips can you offer?