Listen, we have known each other for quite a while, and I feel like we are at a point in our relationship that we can be honest with each other. So, it is with a heavy heart that I am holding this intervention. Yes, I said it INTERVENTION. Social media debates are getting out of control and we are all to blame- yes even you.
In the age where social media is colliding head on with hot topic issues, I feel as though we as a people have stopped listening to one another. World Wide people are fighting for rights, rallying against injustices. Together we are celebrating social accomplishments- yes, the 13th Doctor I am talking to you- as well as equally important things not pertaining to Doctor who, and we all have opinions about it. We all love that there is an open virtual community where we can come together to discuss everything from the feral cats running around town to the Trump Health Care Bill, in a respectful and intelligent manner. We have the technology, now if we could only get down that whole respectful and intelligent thing we would be all set. Because the sad truth is instead of using these assists to learn from one another and debate in a rational manner what is really happening is quite distasteful. Forums are filled with people SCREAMING opinions at each other- using bold text, snide remarks, sarcasm, truly unintelligent retorts and even threats. We are too busy ramming how we feel down each other’s throats that the benefits of this amazing social tool are getting lost.
What was a tool that was developed for good has been compromised and taken to the dark side.(Que epic music here and maybe picture me wearing a cape flapping in the wind) Do not lose hope people of the world! I know we can bring it back to the light but we need to work together. Using TMG’s Five Steps To Debate Like a Grown Up, we can all (including myself) start communicating in a more productive manner.
Step One: Read the article before you get outraged. Most people only read the headlines of news articles out there (loooooong Pause) THE FRIGGIN HEADLINE. How are you supposed to gather all the information from the article, form an opinion and then vomit out that opinion onto social media without truly knowing what the heck you are taking about. This is comparable to judging a book by its cover, or judging a food by the way it looks (yea squid I am talking to you- you delicious sea creature) We are adults and know better.
Step Two: Fact Check. Pretty simple one would think. Just because you
A) Read it online
B) Think it is true
C) REALLY REALLY want it to be true
Does not make it true. CRAZY, RIGHT? If you want to have a conversation where you are informed with correct information fact checking is the way to go. They even have websites and twitter accounts that there one sole purpose is to fact check what politicians, news channels and ordinary people spew out of their word hole. FactCheck.org being one of them! But hey those could be biased too, so if you are a cynic, which I think everyone is at one point or another, do a few google searches and see what you come up with. When you have facts, and research on your side you are always a winner- unless you know your wrong… But hey your mother will still love you either way!
Step Three: Talk to one another like you are speaking to someone you respect. Yes, I know it can be hard sometimes, especially when you run into that one troll who always says that one thing that makes you totally hulk out- but control yourself. When you speak to another person with respect even if they are as evil as Draco Malfoy
Step Four: Does this topic really matter to you, or are you just throwing your two cents in to be a jerk. Hey I have done it- sometimes you just cannot help yourself, you just want to add that itsy bitsy drop of fuel to the fire and watch the post just burn up. Yea it can be funny, but your fun is hurting the discussion, and hurting the people that have really thrown themselves into the discussion. When it comes to these iffy topics stay out of it. No one wants to hear your opinion and honestly do you even want to deal with the notification storm after you post?
Step Five: The most important of all the steps- your opinion is YOURS, and guess what, I have an opinion as well. We do not have to agree, and not all of us will but we do have to respect that other humans process information differently based on the persons history, life experiences at the time, and personal values and morals (and no values and morals are NOT the same thing, there is a slight difference between the two that make it important to list them both…I will not have this debate again!). A person’s opinion can be the opposite of what yours are, hey they can even be morally questionable, but each person has the right to them. In the case where they differ from yours accept it- maybe even learn from it even if that lesson is that other people think differently. In the extreme case where the persons opinion is morally wrong well they are clearly not going to change their mind because you think differently, and in some cases, may even make them feel more righteous. Why give them that satisfaction?
Bonus Step: For the love of all that is right in the world have a sense of humor. Its ok to laugh, some things, even inappropriate things can make one giggle. This world is so rough everyone is so on edge that I think we can all use a good laugh now and then. For those of you who do not find it funny unless it is hurting someone let it be! You may not have that type of humor but do not ruin it for the rest of us. Stand on your moral high ground far, far, away from the rest of us.
So friends, I will now close this intervention- for now- and hope that we can all understand that this world is made not only for you, but for me as well. Let’s get together and make it better instead of trying to tear each other apart one comment at a time.