There is so much information online these days and a lot of it is enough to get even the meekest and most rational person’s blood to start boiling. When you see something you feel strongly about, it’s easy to wade into a debate online and before you know it, it has degenerated into a verbal punch up, far removed from the original issue.
Here are 4 simple tips to ensure you don’t get sucked in:
Don’t be afraid to get involved in a debate online. It’s healthy and if you keep an open mind, you might learn something. You might also have valuable information to offer someone in need and it could mean all the difference. Just be choosy. Pick your battles. If a comments section has already blown up into insults and memes, don’t bother. It’s not going to appreciate your contribution.
2. Be informed
Get your facts straight. It isn’t difficult to read up on a topic before you jump into a debate online. Particularly if the topic provokes an emotional reaction and you don’t really know enough about it to add anything to the discussion. If it’s a topic you are confident about, then offer your knowledge with the intention to make a positive contribution. That doesn’t mean you have to compromise your ideals or values, or even be polite if it is something that warrants outrage. It’s just that the outcome should always be to evolve the discussion towards higher knowledge.
3. Make your point clearly
Sometimes a concise sentence says so much more than endless paragraphs of facts and figures. A debate online can attract hundreds of comments and for anyone reading them, too many words will make them skim past. If you want to make your point powerfully in a comments section, think about the crux of your argument and say it in as few words as you can. Providing a supportive link to back your point and provide further reading can be really effective too.
4. Walk away
When your most rational efforts, your meticulously crafted words with the best of intentions are met with hostility, ignorance and abuse, regardless of how factual or right your point of view is, the best thing you can do is walk away. If someone becomes abusive and antagonistic, the block button can become your best friend. Delete, block, move on.
Featured photo credit: The Huffington Post via huffingtonpost.com.au