Ah, the facebook fight.
It's one of the finer pleasures of life, really. Nothing like logging onto facebook....reading some random stranger's idiotic comment, replying to it, and then--63 back-and-forth comments later--knowing that you did your little part to change the world for the better.
I've had my share of facebook fights. I know this must come as a surprise to you. In fact, I just got in one today.
Ok, so I have opinions. A lot of them. There really are very few things I don't have an opinion on. Even on things I don't really care about--I'll pretend to care about them--just so I can have an opinion. And I don't mind sharing my opinion. In fact, at times, I feel absolutely compelled to share my opinions.
Probably the glory days of my facebook fighting was back during the heat of the recent healthcare debate. I'd read people's completely ignorant views and--due to the incredible gravity of the potential effects of the healthcare bill on our country--I would comment. I was polite, never rude, and always right.
I would even get private messages sent to me from random strangers thanking me for sharing my opinions...which gave me the courage to continue to tell the world off on facebook as much as I could. Spreading truth to one ignoramus at a time. That's what I do.
A few months ago, during the peak of the Occupy Wall St nonsense, I got into a facebook fight with a self-avowed libertarian socialist/Christian anarchist. Don't ask me how those 4 philosophies jive together. However they merged--they resulted in this individual. He was civil enough--and he had obviously spent a large amount of time thinking and reading on the issue of capitalism vs socialism. But he was so very wrong. So very, very wrong. And I had to tell him. I had to, people. I had to.
Just recently, a friend of mine on facebook wrote something that I found very offensive and incredibly inaccurate. I wanted to say something. In the course of the rest of the day, I crafted a whole response in my head. It was civil. It was nice. And it corrected the inaccuracy of what he had said.
But then that little voice in the back of my head told me..."Step away from the computer, Kamilli. Don't do it. It's not worth it." So I didn't. I decided this man and his friends could continue in their ignorance. I wasn't going to change his mind. I'd probably just lose a friend. Not that I'll ever see him again in this lifetime anyways. But that's not the point... Sometimes it's just better to bite your tongue and not say anything. It depends on who you're dealing with and what the topic is. There are definitely some things worth defending. And people worth defending them to. This just wasn't one of those times.
So, as someone who's gone the rounds a time or two on facebook, I offer these rules of thumb (or more accurately, these rules of the middle finger):
1) As a general rule, don't pick facebook fights with your facebook friends. Only friends of your facebook friends. They don't know who you are. So you don't get left picking up the pieces. You can walk away, dust your hands off, and let your friend deal with the aftermath.
2) If you can, find out what city the person you're about to pick a fight with is from. If they live within 200 miles--driving distance to come and beat you up or stalk you-then it's probably not a good idea.
3) Make sure your profile and personal info is private. You don't want anyone to think that you speak for your religion, your alma mater, your employer, etc.
4) Know your stuff. Nothing worse than picking a facebook fight, and then having a highly reliable and respected wikipedia link thrown in your face to rebut everything you just said.
4) Don't be facebook friends with people who are idiots. This one's a no-brainer. If you know someone that is just stupid--or who has polar opposite views as you do, and isn't afraid to share them--then just don't befriend them on facebook. Or at least "hide" them so you don't have to read their trash every day. Heaven knows there's enough of that on facebook anyways. There are some people in my life that I just know I can't handle on facebook. I can't deal with them. So I'm not facebook friends with them. There's no rule that says just because you know someone--or are even friends with them in real life--you have to befriend them on facebook. Yet, somehow...some people think you do. Probably mostly the people with some quest to achieve 2,000 'friends' on facebook.
Which leads me to wonder: how many people have "hid" me on facebook? Hmmm. Oh well. I'm over it.
5) Be civil and polite. Even if the person is an obvious jerk. I think facebook and other social media have changed the discourse in America...and not necessarily for the better. People feel they can say things online that they'd probably never say to someone in person. I guess that could be a good thing--ideas can be shared freely without fear of immediate repercussion....but I think it has decreased the civility that one would normally try to use in person (for fear of getting pummeled). Name-calling and insults just aren't productive and only make you look like the idiot.
Though, I must admit, they sometimes feel really good to say.
Pray tell...Have you had some facebook fights??
Tuesday, February 7, 2012
Ah, the facebook fight.