|A Large Stone at Sacsayhuaman, Just Outside of Cusco–Getting into social media battles is like trying to move a stone by staring at it.|
January has been a big month for comments on “Streets of Lima” to greater or lesser effect. The truth is that moderating them tends to wear me out. The comments of my regular readers can be trusted, but the “anonymous” ones are a complete free-for-all. I have absolutely no idea when I click on them if they’re going to congratulate or berate me. The result is that I have to cultivate a kind of special mindset just to continue on–which annoyingly indicates that yes, troll comments do have an effect on reality.
There are various schemes out there to get you to fall into the same old redundant, knee-jerk thinking that seems to define modern culture. I’m fairly convinced that a large percentage of the population is personally offended by the idea of rational thinking, and they will treat you with prejudice if you dare to show such a tendency in public. The fact is folks, you’re better off not getting into arguments with people on blogs, forums, or Facebook. Even if you think you’re “carrying on for the readers, and not to change the perspective of your antagonist” trust me when I tell you that nobody is reading and nobody cares but you.
In fact, that’s number 10 on my list:
10. Nobody cares: You might think you’re fighting the good fight by endlessly replying to some snarky moron who keeps changing the definition of the words he/she is using in every other sentence, but trust me, there aren’t legions of people with one finger on a voting machine and the other on their mouse holding out for one final argument to sway their opinion back to your way of thinking. You’re arguing into an empty closet, the only response you’re getting is an echo.
9. Winning is more important than fairness on the internet: This one is absolutely ridiculous, people can’t ever be bothered to stick with the commonly accepted definitions of the terms they are using. They flip them back and forth at their convenience, sometimes in blatant disregard to how they’ve used them in previous arguments. For example, I was battling somebody today on Facebook who insisted that the “classical” definition of “liberal media” was an entity that spoke in deference to the wants and needs of large corporations–uh huh, and that’s why Fox news is so angry at the “liberal media?” Ancient definitions are no use in modern society, remember that the classical definition of “gay” is happy.
8. Everybody is “Anonymous:” People rarely put their names when they comment, especially if they’re being snarky. This is probably to hide the fact that they’re a 9 year old kid or a prison inmate. Who cares what their opinion is?
7. Spelling errors: Don’t get into debates with people who don’t know when to properly use their/there/they’re.
6. Drawing conclusions on faulty interpretations of data: You can sure tell that science is held in low regard in the US simply based on the way people pounce on any apparent “fact” to sell their viewpoint. The other day I saw a guy criticize Obama because the economy shrunk 1%, which he took as evidence of failure. All that is, is a result. Who knows what results we would have gotten from other strategies, maybe a 10% contraction? Maybe a 50%? There are essentially infinite possibilities, so it’s wrong to just jump to a negative conclusion over flimsy data.
5. Some people are flat out crazy: Internet arguments can get pretty heated, and you have to remember there are a lot of gun toting crazies out there who can probably figure out where you live. Don’t put it past these psychopaths to show up at your house. Yeah…everybody is tough on the internet, until somebody brings the fight to your door.
4. Getting into battles with morons makes you look stupid: Yeah, sometimes it pains me to delete a bunch of idiotic comments, and then it pains me when they keep commenting about what a “coward” I am for not posting their idiotic “anonymous” comment…but ever since I learned to read three words and then delete if I’m in the slightest bit bothered, I’ve felt a lot better. Hey, it’s my blog, I get to define what is fair.
3. If you HAVE to get into a social media battle, make sure you have home field advantage: One time I was battling some psycho and I went back and changed that person’s comments to make him/her look even more psycho than s/he actually was. I think Blogger has subsequently removed this feature, it was kind of amusing though because it REALLY made people angry, which is what social media battles are really all about.
2. You’ll probably get sucked into saying something you regret, then it will live forever on the internet.
And the final reason you shouldn’t get into social media battles is:
1. It’s probably a nice day outside, go enjoy it, or do ANYTHING productive.
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