As someone who’s not typically prone to impassioned rants on social media statuses or captions, the world of a keyboard warrior and the Internet troll is one that evades me. Sure, I entertain animated discussions about certain issues, and every once in a while I’ll share something that I love or feel strongly about. But the need to take an opposing opinion to heart or blast my opinion of something over loudspeakers seems futile at best. The one place you definitely won’t find me is some random comment section (—at least not out in the open anyway. Although I am definitely not above lurking incognito; let’s face it, no one is), crossing swords in a keyboard war with a fellow netizen.
But not only do I not see the point in engaging in an argument regarding something that doesn’t involve me directly, I also don’t understand why people do it. Sure, these netizens take one for the team, by providing hours of entertainment for lurkers and creepers who not only always have a bucket of popcorn on standby at all times, but probably already have the notifications turned on for every time someone chimes in with their two cents. And of course, it’s good to stand up for something we truly believe in whether it’s political, ethical or simply to do with the latest Rob Kardashian vs Black Chyna drama. But here are four reasons why it’s best not to engage in online conflicts when possible:
1. You aren’t going to change anyone’s mind
Especially when they’ve already made up their mind while hiding behind an anonymous username and a computer screen. While there is perhaps a lingering 10-15% chance of you changing someone’s mind, let’s look at it this way: the more foolish or ridiculous the opinion, the less your chances are of conducting a rational argument that will reach a mutually pleasing agreement. Think about it; when was the last time you saw an online conflict between an Internet troll and another resolved with someone bowing out respectfully? “Thank you for opening my eyes. You, random stranger on the internet, have convinced me of something that no one else has ever been able to do with your highly eloquent points and well-stated argument”, said no one ever.
2. “Just like in the zoo, don’t feed the Internet trolls.”
The internet is filled with lonely hearts looking to make an impact on someone else. By “trolling” other people, these lone wolves find ways to satiate a hunger inside of them by creating a situation which is bound to put them in the centre of attention, good or bad. So by falling for their ruse and getting triggered by something outlandish that they’ve put out into the world wide web, you’re basically walking straight into their trap with your eyes wide open. Remember everyone, just like in the zoo, don’t feed the Internet trolls.
3. Making unnecessary enemies.
Anyone with a healthy mind and even the slightest bit of logic will tell you that it’s better to have more friends than enemies. It’s all fun and games on the Internet where anyone can be brave and paint the town red with their tongues. However, it’s a different story altogether when you’re out buying groceries in your sweats and flip-flops, and you bump into someone in the toiletries aisle that you got into an online fight with a year ago. Not a great feeling.
4. Use your time for more fruitful activities.
As the wise saying goes, “Pick your battles.” So, instead of picking the option of aimlessly bickering with some Internet troll on Facebook about, say, the human rights of homeless people, how about utilizing your time, energy and sanity to actually go out to a shelter and feed the homeless? Instead of arguing about the pros and cons of vaccination for children, how about you invest your time in actually taking care of your babies, instead of pointlessly going back and forth on the Internet on someone who can and will simply block your existence with the click of a button?
So the next time you see a party in the comment sections on Facebook, YouTube, Instagram or any other place, always remember that you have the option to either: 1) Scroll past it and live your life conflict-free, or, 2) Switch on post notifications, go off, live your life freely and come back when you have nothing else better to do.