If you are not on a social media platform, your communication skills are probably more superior to the rest of the world because you likely engage with people face-to-face. Building and maintaining a relationship in person can bring about the most success because the likelihood you will misinterpret them is very unlikely in comparison to Internet interactions.
With the negative connotation social media has been given, it is hard to see how someone could post a comment without being mocked. It starts from the tone they use, or their improper use of words like "there" or "too," or it can even go as far as questioning their character due to the stereotype or label one person believes their post gave.
When this happens, it can leave you windering if there is a right way to say anything on social media.
Well, the answer is yes! Here are five ways to debate on social media without getting attacked or losing your soul in the process.
1. Don't feed the hungry
There are people who will look for any sign of stereotype, prejudice, or opinionated behavior and then leave a nasty comment for you and all your friends to see. These people have impure agendas and, while their goal may be to bring out the fire in you, you must keep it hidden.
Social media has allowed those who have once been silenced to voice their opinion. This power allows them to become potential bullies.
When discussing deep topics with controversial biases, keep the comments that will drive the social media trolls insane to yourself. Don't feed them.
2. Time is your friend
When you can see that your friend has read your text due to IPhone's "read it" feature, but they don't respond for several hours ... the waiting game sets in and you become obsessed. Social media does not yet have that, so there is no need to feel rushed!
When your friend comments on your Instagram photo about how your breakfast does not actually look that appetizing, stop and breath. She cannot see that you have read her response. Yes, you can delete it immediately, but think first.
When the notification pops up on our phone, it seems practically impossible not to reply right away, but it is best to wait it out.
Just like in heated discussions, when you say exactly what you think in the moment, you regret it immediately afterwards.
It's okay not to respond. Just wait it out.
3. Know when an apology is needed
Words hurt people. Despite your efforts to choose your words wisely, you will likely never be able to please everyone. Seeking reconciliation to the ones you have hurt is a critical step to show compassion and integrity in the virtual world. It is okay that some of your twitter posts will make people angry-again, you can't please everyone. Your opinion is worth sharing and the way people respond to it is their choice.
Sometimes you do not need to apologize for your opinion because, frankly, you aren't sorry you shared it. The proper time to apologize is when it took on a hurtful meaning due to who you stereotyped, the blame you unrightfully placed or the way you disrespected someone or something without any source or reasoning to back you up. This can have the opposite effect you were hoping for if you don't choose your words carefully and then refuse to make amends.
4. There is life outside of your virtual reality
Without real time interaction and being able to see others' facial expressions, there is going to be miscommunication throughout your social media experience. That is because face-to-face interaction is superior to all other forms of communication.
The best way to understand someone's response without seeing his or her face would be to really know the person outside of the social media bubble.
Don't be friends with someone on social media that you haven't met in person for this reason (if not for safety reasons, as well). If you are able to interact with them face-to-face, you can build a connection that expands beyond the virtual world and you are more likely not to misinterpret their comments on the Internet.
5. Always remember who you are
We all have our own motives and purpose on social media. Whether it be current events with politics, friends, foreign affairs, family or whatever tickles your fancy, we all have our own reasons for logging onto Facebook about 50 times a day.
Remember your purpose and who you are. One of the keys to not losing your soul on social media is understanding that everyone is entitled to their opinion and it is likely different than yours, which is okay. Your Facebook friends do not own you, nor do they have the power to label you.
Remember these five things the next time you log on to social media. Speaking your mind with integrity and compassion will assist you in your pursuit to hold onto your soul while living in the 21st century.
Tana is a student with a passion for words. She believes that written words can touch people in ways unimaginable. In her spare time she enjoys singing, hiking, cuddling in a fuzzy blanket, and spending time with her friends and family.