Over the years, Facebook has become increasingly popular, gaining attention from young adults to the older generations. What once started out as a simple social media platform has grown into an enterprise that people and businesses alike can’t do without. It’s a quick and fun break from your day-to-day activities where you can find new recipes, shop for items, catch up on the latest news, and chat with your friends all across the globe with one click of a button.
With the widespread growth of social media, other things have come out of the woodwork as well. If you’re anything like me, you’ve likely noticed the increase of opinions swirling across the web. Amid the fun, light-hearted side of Facebook is a more troubling and serious side. It seems as though when behind a computer screen, filters can drop and people become far more bold and verbally opinionated with no second thought given to the consequences.
If someone voices his or her opinion, it’s only a matter of time until someone with an opposing thought chimes in - and it isn’t always pretty. This caught the attention of researchers and they began to dig in to see the root cause. After much study, they discovered that individuals tend to respond quite differently to an opinion online than how they would if they heard that same opinion voiced aloud from someone face-to-face.
While there’s no straight shot as to how this can end, there are ways we can work towards ending this dilemma. The first step is to cease from encouraging negative behavior. When a situation is posed that opposes your point of view, it’s okay to disagree and continue scrolling. Like our moms always told us when we were young, “If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all.” In my opinion, that statement should be the slogan for all social media platforms!
If you feel you must speak up, take a breather before replying. Use this moment to truly consider your words before spilling your side of the story for all the world to see. Carefully think out your argument and pose in a way you’d wish to receive it from another.
Another way to rid social media of this issue is to always keep in mind that even though you are merely reading words on a screen, there is a real, living human that created those words and we must treat them as such. If you feel as though you must chime in but haven’t the correct words to say, conversations in person are always a good idea. When talking face-to-face or on a telephone, it’s much easier to hear the meaning and feeling behind the person’s words. While we’ll never be able to completely squash out arguments on Facebook, these little reminders can help if you find yourself in a similar situation.