Arguing on social media: it may be pointless, but I’m annoyed

All right readers, as you may have begun to understand by reading my past opinion pieces, I’m a very fiery and passionate person.

I’m the type of person who occasionally gets into paragraph-length Facebook arguments with people just because I feel like someone needs to call people on their bullcrap. My involvement in such social media posts really depends on how strongly I feel about a certain topic as well as the context of it.

Over the years, I’ve learned one thing about disagreements on social media: It doesn’t matter what way you approach it, it doesn’t matter if your goal is to inform and it doesn’t matter if you’re trying to correct an obvious incorrect assumption/statement. There’s a very small chance you’ll change someone’s mind.

There’s a saying I really like: You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make it drink. In the context of this situation, you can provide someone with an endless amount of reliable information and a solid argument but that doesn’t mean they’ll take it into consideration.

Don’t get me wrong, whenever I see a post about something that boils my blood, I type out a response message. But majority of the time, I think about the actual good it’ll do and if it’ll make any significant difference and after I do that, I realize it might be fruitless. If something makes me outrageously angry, I’ll have a weak moment and fire back at someone because sometimes I can’t fathom the stupidity and gall some people actually have.

Recently, I’ve made the decision that if I do respond to someone, I try to remain cordial with people while still getting my point across. But man, let me tell you, it’s SO HARD to remain neutral and nice while someone is responding to you condescendingly. A great example of this is a recent argument I got in with an older member of the community that was against the college’s one-mill levy that just passed in the November election.

At first, I read through this woman’s comments on the promotional posts for the levy on Facebook and I got a little irked. I get that she had her right to an opinion but she was acting a little snotty. I let it go.

But then I saw another one of her comments where she called LCCC “a joke” and that’s when I (nicely) told her that that comment was uncalled for and rude. She then fired back at me and called me a “little girl” and told me to “grow up” because “everyone has an opinion.” Let me tell you, I was pretty ticked off. But I continued to go back and forth with this woman for a few minutes and I remained cordial, calling her “ma’am.” In all honesty, I realized that I wasn’t going to change her opinion on the levy in any way, shape or form. But I wanted to stand up for the place I’m getting an education from.

I know that I may sound like a hypocrite. But here’s the way I go about it: Yeah, sometimes it may seem pointless to fire back at someone on the Internet and I realize that, but sometimes you just say screw it and go for it. The key to responding back is this: Try your hardest to remain cordial, even if your counterpart is condescending (like calling names, saying you’re stupid etc.). Worse comes to worse and you don’t make any difference, you’ll look like the bigger person and the people outside the conversation will see how childish your counterpart looks.

My advice to you: Kill them with kindness (whether it’s genuine or not).

I’ve started responding in this way because over the Internet, you lose a HUGE part of communication: the voice. I’ve begun to use this to my advantage. When you read a paragraph of text, you decide how the voice sounds, regardless of how the author intended it to sound. Going back to my example, I used words in a very cordial manner and addressed her as “ma’am.” Depending on the reader, the way I responded may come across as neutral or it may come across as ironic and sarcastic. Either way, my message came across without the use of explicatives, name calling or insulting.

Someone reading this is probably thinking “wow, this woman is entirely too angry and needs to learn to let things go.” Here’s my response to that: Yes, I know that might be the case. My mother tells me that all the time. Over the past few years, I’ve been getting better at not letting things make me too angry. But sometimes, some people shouldn’t get away with saying things that are uncalled for. Maybe one day I’ll get tired of calling people on their bullcrap, but today is not that day.

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