Five Tips for Debating Online and Coming Out Alive

By Stacey Ross

Do the phrases ‘Zimmerman trial,’ ‘breastfeeding in public,’ or ‘Obamacare’ get your heart skipping a beat just at the sight of the words? Social media platforms, without doubt, house some heated debates about all sorts of topics, from politics to pop culture. There are pros and cons to how these messages are shared, however. The range of communication styles is as diverse as the angles and perspectives – ranging from folks compassionately engaging each other, to downright demolishing one another.

I asked my colleagues to share their thoughts about what guidelines they follow when they express disagreement on their social media platforms or when they share personal viewpoints that might be controversial. Here are a few responses:

“I always tell people to be mindful of their word choice because readers have no way to know your tone and, if they overlay their own words, yours can be given meaning that you never intended.” ~ Sara F. Hawkins

“I’m always mindful of what I say due to my career and professional standing. That aside, I’m an open book and speak my mind. If someone takes my views personally or thinks less of me because of them, then I’m probably better off without them. Life is too short to not show your passion or your beliefs. I have lots of friends who feel the opposite of what I do on certain things yet we still derive value from an open and mature dialogue.”Scott Gulbransen

“I don’t get into debates anymore online. People don’t know how to have a discussion without bashing each other and judging them, so when I see someone post something I don’t agree with, I just skip over and ignore it.”Hillary Lachman Gardner

Oops, I did it again!

If you are like I am, at one point in your online life you broke the pact with yourself that you would refrain from interacting online when it comes to certain topics or heated debates. Then maybe you swore you were going to take a long break from social media, but a few days later you returned, yet again! A love hate thing! And then, chances are that you remember at least one time that your finger hovered, hovered, hovered over the “Enter” key and time froze – and POW – you just went for it anyway!

“Oh  – – – -, what did I just do?!” you might have thought; either that or “OMG, yes, I finally did it!”

You might, as I do, have one or two valuable live-and-learn experiences to help guide you for the next online adventure!

The following are tips to keep in mind when you want to exchange ideas online but still keep it classy:

1. Decide if you want to be in an exchange or in a battle. Make sure to use language that does not belittle, condemn, name-call or insult those who are chatting with you. If you look at it as war, then you are approaching it as a heated debate, with the aim to win and be right vs. listen to others’ ideas. Both platforms surely exist, and are not necessarily discouraged, as they drive attention and traffic. It comes down to a choice.

2. Avoid the ultra-heated rants! Keep in mind that some online personalities have a “shtick” designed to keep their posts evocative, confrontational, edgy, sassy and even insulting. They get paid to vent and pull peoples’ strings. If you can stand the heat, then have fun (I guess?!), but keep in mind that first and foremost they are entertainers, and they are not worried about offending your inner child!

3. Know your limitations. Have a line that you draw which defines the degree of “debating” you will tolerate, meaning that if your stream gets way out of hand by trouble-making trolls, you might need to get in and moderate the comments, or even delete offensive messages. Some people even go to the extent, depending on their platform, to state what they will not accept language-wise on their pages. It really is a professional and/or personal call!

4. Share compelling information to state your case. Otherwise, if you are just coming from pure speculation, you will not be taken too seriously. Speaking from the heart and head are two totally different approaches. The best facts, documents, examples and/or experiences to back up your viewpoint will make you shine bright like a diamond.

Check the validity of your example and make sure that it is the best you can find. If you are not pulling from facts, then be honest and share that you “speculate” or “have a strong hunch” about something vs. letting lose like a cannon!

5. Be polite! It might not offer as much of an adrenaline rush, but it surely will give you more credibility! Especially if you are a voice of authority that wishes to remain esteemed in your online community. Maintain your cool and don’t give in to letting your emotions go wild. You will come off as way too self-important and callous, like you are too good for your platform. When doing so, what leaks out is sarcasm, bitterness, and a basic sense that pretty much what others have to say doesn’t really matter. If that is what you wish for, then disregard the above.

Be sure to not make fun of or personally attack whomever is disagreeing or showing a different side. Chances are that this topic might weigh heavy and touch a nerve with more people than you can imagine. There might be very valid reasons that they see things through a different lens than you do.

My colleague Lin as a preface to a recent post on her site, Blogomomma.com, shared, “It’s okay to have an opinion, passion, conviction, difference, and disagreement – it’s not okay to be disrespectful. Don’t force what you think on me and I won’t force what I think on you and that way we can learn from each other.”

Stacey Ross is an online consultant, social media enthusiast, freelancer and owner of SanDiegoBargainMama.com. A former teacher and middle school counselor, she is now a mom of two who researches and freelances about lifestyle topics involving family and well-being.

Comments:

  1. This piece of writing presents clear idea in favor of the new viewers of blogging, that genuinely
    how to do blogging.

  2. I do not even understand how I finished up here, but
    I thought this publish was great. I do not recognize who you are but definitely you’re going to a famous blogger should you aren’t already.
    Cheers!

  3. If some one needs to be updated with most up-to-date technologies afterward
    he must be visit this web page and be up to date all the time.

  4. Your mode of describing everything in this piece of writing is actually good, every one
    can effortlessly know it, Thanks a lot.

  5. Hi to every one, because I am actually keen of
    reading this blog’s post to be updated regularly.
    It consists of fastidious data.

  6. I love looking through an article that can make men and women think.
    Also, thank you for permitting me to comment!

  7. I was suggested this website by my cousin. I’m not sure
    whether this post is written by him as nobody else know such detailed
    about my trouble. You are wonderful! Thanks!

  8. Thanks in support of sharing such a fastidious idea, post is fastidious,
    thats why i have read it entirely

  9. Wonderful post but I was wanting to know if you could
    write a litte more on this subject? I’d be very grateful if you could elaborate a little bit
    more. Bless you!

  10. Wow, this paragraph is fastidious, my younger sister is analyzing these things,
    thus I am going to tell her.

  11. I love your blog.. very nice colors & theme.
    Did you make this website yourself or did you hire someone to do it for you?
    Plz answer back as I’m looking to create my own blog
    and would like to know where u got this from.
    thank you

  12. Excellent goods from you, man. I have understand your stuff previous to and you are just extremely wonderful.
    I really like what you have acquired here, certainly like what you’re saying
    and the way in which you say it. You make it entertaining and you still care for to keep it
    sensible. I cant wait to read much more from you. This is actually a great
    website.

  13. Great post. I used to be checking constantly this blog
    and I’m impressed! Extremely useful information specifically the remaining section 🙂 I deal with such info a
    lot. I used to be looking for this particular info for a
    very lengthy time. Thanks and best of luck.

  14. Actually no matter if someone doesn’t know afterward its up to other viewers that
    they will assist, so here it takes place.

  15. I don’t know if it’s just me or if perhaps everyone else encountering problems with
    your website. It looks like some of the written text within your posts are running off the
    screen. Can somebody else please comment and let me know if this is happening to them too?
    This might be a problem with my internet browser because I’ve
    had this happen previously. Kudos

  16. What i don’t realize is if truth be told how you are no longer really a lot more neatly-preferred than you may be right now.
    You’re so intelligent. You understand thus considerably in terms of this topic, made me in my view believe it from numerous varied angles.
    Its like men and women aren’t fascinated until it is something to accomplish with Lady gaga!

    Your individual stuffs great. Always take care of it up!

  17. I’ve learn a few just right stuff here. Certtainly price bookmarking for revisiting.
    I surprise how much attempt you place to ccreate any such excellent
    informative web site.

    my blog; enjoy sex cams

  18. Very nice post. I just stumbledd upon your weblog and wished to say that I’ve
    really enjoyed surfing around youur blog posts. In any case I will be subscribing to yopur fesd and I hope youu write again vewry soon!

    my blog post :: MyFreeWebcam

  19. Excellent post. I was checking constantly this blog
    and I am impressed! Extremely helpful info specially tthe last psrt :
    ) I care for such informnation much. I was seeking this certain infco for a long time.
    Thank you and good luck.

    Feeel free to surf to my web blog; about sex cams

  20. Heya i’m for the primary time here. I found thiis board and
    I to find It really helpful & it hepped me out much. I hope to give something back and aid others such as
    you aided me.

    My web blog naked girls

  21. Fairies in the Wind 7. Bölüm Flame and Wind 8. Bölüm
    The Strongest Team 9. Bölüm Natsu Eats a Village 10. Bölüm Natsu vs.
    Erza 11. Bölüm The Cursed Island! 12. Bölüm Moon Drip 13.
    Bölüm Natsu vs. Hadou no yuuka 14. Bölüm Do What You Must.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.