Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and all the other social media websites make communicating so much easier. I really enjoy using these sites and I don't know of any other method to get my thoughts out there as quickly and easily. However, there is a downside to social media—the ability to broadcast angry thoughts instantaneously to masses of people. To top it off, these angry messages are often for all the world to see and are archived on the Internet for an indefinite period of time.
Usually, social media is used for good and is very helpful. However, I see angry discussions on Twitter and Facebook several times per week. Often, these arguments appear to be between two people, but are made public. Would these two people really have such an argument in front of a huge crowd of people who can hear every word? The distance of the written word, and often the fact that you have not met the person in real life, is often a recipe for sending messages that you usually would not communicate in a face-to-face setting.
I frequently see another problem related to anger and instantaneous communication in my office. Couples who text angry messages, instead of talking face-to-face, are appearing before me at an alarming rate. Again, texting allows a person to convey a message immediately. When a person is angry, they are not logical. Therefore, any means of instant communication is very dangerous when at the hands of an angry person.
Tips for limiting online/texting arguments
If you wouldn't want it posted in the courthouse or in the newspaper, then don't put it on the Internet.
If you have a disagreement with someone, do not make it public. Instead, contact that person directly.
If you see a disagreement happening between two or more people, don't join in or take sides. This will cause more trouble!
Ideally, if you are in a disagreement with someone, talk in person. Communication is difficult enough between two people. When verbal and non-verbal cues are lost by text communication, things can become more heated. The phone is still a better method of communication than text.
Even if you think your disagreement is private, if you put it in text, others may gain access to it.
Pick your battles. Ask yourself if you really want to even start an argument with someone. Is it worth the energy? Will whatever they said even matter tomorrow?
Most people use social media to network with others. If you show your friends and followers that you are hot headed, is this the message that you really want to send?
I urge everyone to use social media responsibility. They are great technologies and should be embraced. Just as with anything else, responsible use is key.
Follow me on Twitter: @BuckBlack and @TruckerTherapy
However, let's not get into an argument!?