Just Zip It. Don’t Enter into Political, Racial or Religious Discussions on Social Media.

I'm Not Saying Anything!

I’m Not Saying Anything!

In my blogs I try not to make blanket statements, but this week I’m going to. DO NOT ENGAGE IN POLITICAL, RACIAL OR RELIGIOUS DISCUSSIONS ON SOCIAL MEDIA. There, I said it.

I’m saying this as a hypocrite, though. I got into a very heated conversation just the other day on Facebook with someone who made a blasphemous comment about race and abortion. I won’t go into my views on these things, but let’s just say I disagreed with his pig-headed, misogynistic statements so very much I could not stop myself from replying.

WHY IS THIS NOT A GOOD THING? Because:

a) You will NEVER sway someone’s mind from your tweet or FB comment. You just won’t. They believe what they believe and are posting their post and subsequent comments to show the world what they believe. Do I possibly think my well-thought out comments, examples, quotes or personal experiences being a woman, when they are not, will sway this person to change their mind’s view? Not a shot. All it ever does is cause an argument back and forth that gets more hateful as the discussion continues because then people from both sides of the fence start chiming in. And usually they will be against you because those “sound of mind” smartly choose to remain silent and not add fuel to the fire.

b) Race – I can’t comment. Honestly, I’ve been rendered mute on this subject by society. Let’s move on.

c) Religion – there is no way around this. You don’t agree with someone, to the militants you are a heathen, to the tolerant you are more gently a non-believer, or to the ultra devout, someone who won’t be saved. I once had a friend who was “Born Again” spend one hour outside my apartment in New York City after visiting me – he was praying for me to “find my way.” I only caught him, kneeling on the dirty sidewalk reading from a prayer book, when I went out to get some dinner. I assured him I would be fine, but that terrible look in his eyes proclaimed otherwise. Sigh… I don’t talk to that friend any longer because it’s hard to have a relationship with someone when they constantly stare at you as if you’re going to suddenly burst into flames before their very eyes. Thankfully, most people are tolerant of each other (I know I am) but you hear the atrocities committed around the world in the name of religion and you just shudder.

d) Politics – this isn’t even worth the effort speaking because it’s all wrapped up in race and religion and never really about changing the world for the better. Might as well not even bother and just exercise your right to vote.

So why really can’t you say anything? Because an author, or any person on the internet trying to get some notoriety, you don’t want to be branded anything but what persona you’re trying to depict. You don’t want haters to find ways to hurt you. You don’t want to egg on the trolls. It really is in your best interest to steer clear of any discussions that can get you in trouble with anyone – even if you feel you are right.

But, if you simply can’t control yourself from saying something, and decide to get embroiled in a debate, just make sure you are prepared for the consequences. Because there will be consequences. Also note that nothing you say will ever really disappear, even if you’ve deleted your comments. Things get saved, printed, snap-shotted, copied. Once you’ve written it, know that it’s there for the world to see. The last thing you want is to finally become famous and your words come back to bite you in the tush. It could be twenty years from now but your little argument on Facebook could one day have a screen shot and there in full glory you will be vilified for a comment taken out of context (or not) from twenty years ago.

Do yourself a favor and don’t let that happen. The media and haters have enough fodder – don’t give them more.

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20 thoughts on “Just Zip It. Don’t Enter into Political, Racial or Religious Discussions on Social Media.

  1. I agree with you. Which is a shame because it silences the more level middle of the road voices. The extremist on either side will still post. I think that gives a distorted view of the true opinions of society. Therefore our politicians pander only to the extremes.

    • I feel totally silenced. I say one thing, it’s construed one way, say another, construed another way – basically it’s probably better I say nothing but you’re right, it gives an entirely distorted true view of opinions of society. I never thought of it that way. Really great insight.

  2. I saw the conversation you are referring to and I tip-tooped on past. I agree that one has to be careful ot what they post as it is forever and not just for the individual. Imagine if your son ran for President and his opponent does “opposition” research (they all do it) nothing is too low or obscure to be used.

    • UGH, and I wish I’d never entered that conversation, but I was getting so mad. I spoke to the poster on the side and deleted all my comments and he was cool with it – but it prompted this blog. It does me no good at times to say my views if all I’m trying to do as well is to disagree.

  3. sage advice, Elyse. My old history teacher, who’d just finished a rather heated and endless debate with a member of the South African Embassy during the apartheid years told us, watching on, ‘if you hit your head against a brick all, it doesn’t hurt the wall’. I’ve always remembered that.

    • Another great line! “If you hit your head against a brick wall, it doesn’t hurt the wall.” True words – and for these types of situations it literally hurts your heart.

    • You’re better than me – it’s taken me a long time to “bite my tongue” and I’m still learning. I just get so incensed. Thank you so much for reading and commenting – appreciate it.

  4. I totally agree! The only way to deal the the “haters” in the world is to block them on Twitter or Unfriend them on FB. It’s not as satisfying to press that innocuous button but will be better in the end. We don’t need a permanent record of futile arguments. πŸ™‚

    • I have blocked so many people on twitter because of this. FB is different as I usually don’t friend people I don’t know or like – but it’s the others on the threads that are the problem. The ones that chime in to my “friend’s” posts.

  5. I will not have these “conversations” online. Just not happening. I wrote about this a bit ago — I just don’t do it. Also, I’ve very rarely (never) seen it lead anywhere good. Great post.

  6. I think getting into debates is pointless. If people are trying to get people to agree with them, then it’s pointless. Healthy dialogue with respect, accepting and respecting others views, inclusive of all? That’s totally different. But even then, it’s something we should probably avoid – as people tend to turn it into a debate. Great post.

  7. Elyse, I’m totally with you on this one. In my experience it is best to just not engage. Most often any comment is not received how it was intended and the likelihood of it ending well is very slim. Some might call this avoidance, but I just don’t see the sense in conversation that is not productive.

  8. I agree we don’t change anyone’s mind through an argument and it never goes well over social media.

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