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.