The Fine Art of Communicating Online

These days, it’s downright dangerous to voice an opinion online. It doesn’t matter what your opinion is about. It doesn’t matter if your perspective is negative, positive or neutral. People who know what you’re talking about and people who have no clue whatsoever will congregate upon your opinion and give you grief for it.

Comment sections are hate-filled war zones populated by parasites who feed off of triggering negativity in every form in which it exists. I’ve seen fights break out over the Oxford comma, viral baby videos, cute dog photos, and uplifting news stories about people helping each other through a tough situation.

Sometimes, I chuckle at the stupidity of both (or all) sides of an argument, particularly those of the political variety, at other times, I find that I have to take a break from the Internet lest my head explode.

What baffles me is that it’s so easy to avoid the disgusting, inhumane “discussions” that propagate online if only we’d:

  1. Politely agree to disagree. In high school, for General Paper, we had to debate for or against different topics. Firstly, we had to know both sides of the argument. Secondly, we had to present the facts in a clear, logical manner. If the other side did a better job with their presentation, we couldn’t shout expletives and insults at them. We had to graciously accept defeat. Pretend that you’re on a debate team the next time you decide to navigate a comment section.
  1. Learn to walk away. Controversial topics are polarizing by nature. Sometimes we say our piece sensibly and with great flair and the other party still doesn’t get it or refuses to accept our point of view. Instead of becoming increasingly annoyed and run the risk of verbally attacking complete strangers, log out, take a walk.

  1. Understand that everybody has the right to be passionate about their cause. Now, I’ve found that the result of such passion is usually an onslaught of daily posts about the same issue. Over and over. Please be reasonable or else your followers reserve the right to unfollow you if your constant haranguing is overwhelming.
  2. Pay attention to what our followers post. Why would you repeatedly tag someone who’s never posted anything about make-up in posts about bronzer and eyeshadow? Don’t be a nuisance.

  1. Learn to scroll past the stuff that we don’t agree with. People usually arrive at their opinions after a lifetime of experiencing the world their way. Instead of trolling, why not use your body and mind to fight for what you believe in? Volunteer. Write a research paper. Become actively involved in your community. Channel your energy in really making a difference to counteract that opinion you so strongly disagree with.
  1. Refrain from making intrusive comments which can be quite distasteful and lead to conflict. For instance, if your friend posts a photo of her puppy, “Does your mom still have cancer?” is not an appropriate comment especially if your friend never publicised that information online.
  1. Mind our own business. If someone posts an image or status and they’ve excluded their location, there’s really no need for you to announce exactly where they are and what you suspect they’re doing. Some people are selective about how they share information online. They don’t need your help in broadcasting their activities. Again, pay attention.
  1. Conduct ourselves professionally when the situation calls for it. If you’re in a more formal situation, for example, as a customer lodging a complaint on a business account, I don’t care how angry you might be about their product or service, it is unacceptable to cuss out the rep (usually the person at the lowest rung in the corporate ladder) because you want your $5 refunded.
  1. Avoid non-comments. If you have nothing to say, say nothing at all.
  1. Take periodic breaks from social media. There’s no harm in filtering the information that you consume. This will help you to restore your peace. We can communicate more politely and calmly with each other if we’re not inhaling venom all the time.

Do you have any additional suggestions for communicating nicely online? Add your tips in the comments.

26 thoughts on “The Fine Art of Communicating Online

    1. Patience is key. Too many times we let our fingers fly off our keyboards without taking a moment to think about what we’re saying. We can disagree and debate politely but we don’t let good sense prevail.

      Like

  1. You have some great advice here and I really would like to send it to my sister in law, who has got herself into a lot of hot water more than once for her comments on SM – including with a verbal warning at work! But you guessed it….if I were to send her this very sensible advice, she would take it the wrong way!!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m not professional but I think if a person reaches the stage of a warning letter from work, they have a much more serious problem that they need to address stat! I hope she listens to wisdom and changes for the better.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I love this… all of it. Great advice, I found myself nodding over and over again. On a side note, I was talking about The Devil Wears Prada with someone tonight, and there’s Andy throwing her phone into the fountain! (:

    Like

    1. I loved the book and the movie. It was one of those rare instances where the movie did the book justice. Thanks so much for reading and taking the time to comment. 🙂

      Like

  3. I think you covered everything. I’ve had a lot of practice with the scrolling past or logging off. I think people have to remember that it’s the internet where people can be whomever they pretend to be or be as bold as they feel they should behind the computer screen. Just laugh it off and move on.

    Like

  4. Oh what a great article. I completely agree with all your points, it is shocking to see the things people decide to argue about online. For the most part I have learnt to simply not open a comments section and spare myself the waste of time.

    Like

    1. And I find it so sad that some blogs and websites have to disable comment sections! We could learn so much from each other if we would only talk to each other with respect. Thanks for reading! 🙂

      Like

  5. I saw somewhere recently a quote, although it wasn’t credited. It simply said “Never read the bottom half of the internet”. Although I don’t think it applies to the majority of blogs I read, when looking at news and opinion sites especially, I think it’s great advice. It’s nasty down there!
    Wonderful tips and life advice here – I really enjoyed reading x

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I love that quote! I moderate my comments here in order to keep out negativity but thankfully I haven’t ever had to hit that delete button. I’m so happy you like this post. Thanks for your awesomeness. 🙂

      Like

    2. It’s true in news sites, but I find the comment sections on blogs are soooo lovely in comparison. Thank goodness most of the trolls have avoided my blogging friends so far!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Facebook and YouTube comments are a mess (there are near riots on blackhead videos…like why??) I moderate comments. Many of the blogs I comment on do the same. That could be why the trolls don’t worry too much. Also, even for contentious issues, most of the blogs I’ve come across deal with the subject matter in a polite and respectful way so even when their readers disagree they respond in the same tone.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. I moderate mine too…but then it’s only really to block spam spam spam spam…

          I don’t often read the comments on youtube, but when I do, wowza. It’s so strange that people spend their time in such a hateful way!

          Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.