Today, I finally ‘unliked’ a page on Facebook that had been driving me a bit nuts for weeks. The relief I felt in doing so made me consider why I stayed attached to this little area of the net for so long, when it upset me so much. Did I really believe I’d change anyone’s attitudes or opinions? In hindsight, that was never going to happen. So why? A friend of mine admitted the other day that one of his facebook friends annoys him to the point of fury too, and yet he can’t quite bring himself to click block. He suspects that a small part of his soul might actually enjoy raging against this individual’s posts.
I’ve decided that this isn’t how I want to live my (online) life. I’m going to go all Buddhist on your asses now and talk about choosing your own reaction to stuff, and being impeccable with your word, and all that. But I do think there’s a truth to these philosophies. So I’m going to try to start making healthier internet choices.
(the above half-inched from https://www.facebook.com/Dudeism)
I’ve written five golden rules to help me:
1. Do not expect to change the opinions of someone whose spelling and grammar is ridiculous. You have enough experience of this; you know it doesn’t work. If their English teacher couldn’t get them to change something as simple as their use of ‘they’re, their and there’ when they were eleven, what chance do you have of making any dent in their ingrained social, class, religious or race prejudices? You are wasting you’re(sic) time.
2. Do not try to talk in nuances to someone who isn’t likely to understand the word ‘nuance’. Meta, I know, but knowing what this word means is probably a good test of whether or not a person is likely to deal in nuanced points at all, or understand them.
3. Despite that, try not to look down on people who fall into categories 1 or 2 or both, or point out to them that these things are true about them and suggest that therefore their opinions are not valid. You are likely to be stooping to the same level of prejudice as you are fighting against by doing this. (See what I did with that nuance thing there?)
4. Don’t argue with people on the internet. Life is far too short for that shit.
5. If in doubt, see rule 4.