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There’s something about those inter-webs that spins a relatively mild-mannered guy into a ranting moron. In a place where openly sharing your opinions is so straightforward, many guys these days massively “over-share”, usually via the political rant, ongoing sports commentary, or everyday updates about life. We all know about the breakfast intagram.
To me, the most annoying occurrence of oversharing on the internet is the political rant. I like a decent political debate just as much as anyone else, but unfortunately there isn’t much actual debate going on, and most of it is mindless zombie-like blathering. Sure, there are certain crannies and nooks on the net where intelligent debate thrives, but for the most part it’s idiots voicing their views and opinions as facts with one underlying theme: “if anyone disagrees, they are wrong.” Here’s how to not be a jerk if talking politics on the web:
1. Don’t say a thing. Maybe sharing a provocative URL is all you need to do. Leave your own commentary off and let your link speak for itself.
2. Accept opposing views, and thank the person for providing them. “Great. Thanks for your feedback Uncle Bob!” While you might be seething internally, just accept that others see things in different lights and move fofrward.
3. Engage with your dissenters, but engage with their ideas, not with them personally. When you start to label your opponent you’re going into dangerous territory, and this is where internet debates always go astray.
4. Exchange places. Consider, “If what they’re saying is correct, what ramifications would there be?” If you place yourself in their shoes, you might realize they have a decent point…or maybe they don’t.
5. Use correct grammar. Once you start TYPING IN UPPER CAPS AND BOLDING WITHOUT REASON, people cease reading. Nothing makes you look like a moron faster than engaging caps lock.
6. Keep it minimal. No one really wants to read your 20 links a day about African children. Yes, it’s really sad, but consider about how much information you disregard on the net every day. Why? Because it’s commonly from a source that showers you with data that you don’t really want. The people who Tweet, Facebook, or share the least that you should probably pay the most attention to.
7. Joke. Jokes are perfect teaching methods. If you can condense a tough concern into a funny joke (like political cartoonists do), you are adding value to the information and people appreciate this.
Remember that you are interacting with a real person not the computer; if you wouldn’t say it to their face, you probably shouldn’t type it online (this generally works for most people). There’s no need to let fly with every thought that runs through your consciousness.