The Internet is a place that allows for freedom of expression and the communication of ideas. However, while it provides us with opportunities to share our opinions and speak to a much larger audience than we could otherwise, it sometimes gets a little more heated than necessary. People get into nasty e-screaming matches on message boards and berate each other through social media based on their differences, and soon a website that you visited to de-stress becomes a place that raises your blood pressure and requires you to fight back.
I see it all too often – people forming very personal arguments on each other’s tweets and Facebook statuses, and in some cases, with virtual strangers. While I believe it is important to stand up for your opinion and have a safe place to express yourself, I also think that there are times to let an argument go and just take a deep breath. The Internet enables us to make attacks we might not otherwise because we are not seeing the person we’re arguing with face-to-face, and we can become downright mean.
The next time you’re thinking about starting an argument online, consider these alternatives instead! — Tweet this!
The Weekend Five: Things To Do Instead of Arguing On The Internet
1. Avoid the message boards and comments section of articles.
As I’ve mentioned before, people on the Internet aren’t always the nicest. So, when you’re reading your favorite newspaper online, skip the comments section because there will be offensive comments, regardless of how seemingly benign the article topic may be. Your first instinct may be to retaliate, but it’s very likely that no matter how eloquent an argument you make, you still won’t be able to change the person’s mind. Instead of getting angry, don’t read them. Even on IMDB (Internet Movie Database) message boards, people belittle each other for the smallest details regarding movies, television shows and celebrities. If it’s going to get you angry, why even bother?
2. Look at pictures of cute animals.
How can you look into this puppy’s eyes and possibly be in a bad mood after that (assuming, of course, that you have a soul)? If you’re feeling the urge to argue with someone, just log on to Cute Overload and browse through photos and videos of adorable cats, dogs, farm animals and everyone else under the sun.
3. Hug somebody.
It’s okay… we all know that your anger toward Mitt Romney/Barack Obama/Newt Gingrich/Ryan Seacrest/The Hamburglar is really just a cry for love and affection. (Well, maybe not entirely.) Either way, unless you’re anti-human contact, a hug from a friend or loved one certainly won’t hurt.
4. Get some exercise.
It’s hard to be angry when your endorphins are flowing! Instead of reading through a long thread of outraged comments about something absolutely ridiculous but still infuriating, go for a walk or a run or a swim. Clear your head by moving around and taking in new scenery.
5. Get out of the house!
Turn off the computer and go somewhere else. Hang out with friends, see a movie, or go to the park. Staying away from the Internet for a few hours and focusing on something else is definitely an ideal alternative to fighting on the Internet.
What do you like to do instead of fighting online?