August 4, 2017

Most of us spend time on social media—sometimes too much time! How we interact on each platform can be different. It’s easy to get into an argument on Twitter or Facebook— if we take the bait—and most of us have, at least once.

The whole experience, whether you’ve quarreled with strangers or friends, can leave you feeling shaky and uncertain. It’s a strange thing to fight with people when you’re not face-to-face, and the number of opponents that can enter the fray is virtually limitless.

Are there ways to recover from, and better still, avoid, these uncomfortable modern moments? Here are some suggestions.

Keep Perspective

When you are in the middle of a social media battle, it can feel as if the entire world knows what you’ve been saying—and that everyone thinks you’re a jerk. These feelings of isolation are not surprising considering you are probably sitting alone as you type on your phone or laptop.

Remember that a few people may view your opinion unfavorably, but most people will never even know the exchange took place. Even if it does blow up (and you deal with the nightmare of having your words screen shotted and circulated around the internet) it will be someone else’s turn tomorrow. You’re little blow up will quickly be forgotten.

Quickly Apologize When You’re at Fault

There are so many ways to offend other people these days. One reason for this is that, in the past, we might have committed a faux pas with only one or two people as witnesses. Today, countless people can pounce on you for making a mistake—within seconds.

If you shared an image or opinion that you didn’t realize would be offensive, don’t dig in and try to justify the post. The attacks will end much sooner if you admit that you made a mistake, apologize, and move on. You may also want to delete the message. Once you’ve addressed it, there’s nothing else you can do except wait for the outrage to die down.

Deactivate Your Profile

Even innocent comments can be taken out of context, and your belated explanations will likely be ignored as the trolls pile on.  If this happens to you and it becomes too much, there’s no shame in temporarily deactivating your profile to give everyone an opportunity to cool off and move on. Who knows, you might find that your life is more peaceful without social media!

Commit to Making Changes

Whatever happens, learn from the experience. If you were left feeling battered and bruised, there’s a good chance you aren’t cut out for online battles (and, really, most of us aren’t).

The best thing you can do is make changes in how you interact on social media. Modify the pages and people you follow. Commit to scrolling past scandalous or incendiary articles. Don’t fall for the clickbait, either.

A lot of people are feeling overwhelmed these days. Combine that with the fake news articles that are designed to elicit emotional responses and you’ve got a recipe for anger and reactivity. If you are feeling helpless and discouraged, instead of spending time in social media debates, you may want to do what you can to create peace in your little corner of the world. If that means giving up social media altogether, so be it!

Have you gotten into a social media battle? If so, how did it turn out?