Social Media Debates Must Stop


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Social media in all its forms often leads to heated debates with strangers.

2020’s latest hobby is debating on the internet with strangers. Each day a new post is going viral, being posted on every teenager’s Instagram story, trending under hashtags and causing large heated debates in the comments. Twitter, Instagram, Reddit and even the neighborhood communication app Nextdoor have all seen their share of virtual bickering. Outraged by the things going on in the world and the divisiveness created by politics, people are taking to social media to fight for their beliefs more than ever before.

Social media debates can take on a variety of topics, ranging from political issues and current events to whether a dress is actually blue or gold. Though there has never been a social media debate to successfully end with a winner, that doesn’t stop people from indulging in an irresistibly heated argument taking place in the comment section of an innocent post. 

A typical debate on social media plays out like this:

User 1: Comments on a viral, slightly controversial post with a sarcastic and somewhat rude statement, disagreeing with the views presented in the post.

User 2: Sees User 1’s comment and is angry that User 1, a person they have never met before, would disagree with them. They then spend 20 minutes researching and preparing a passive-aggressive response to their comment (usually spanning more than two paragraphs in length) explaining why User 1 is wrong, uneducated and a bad person for believing what they believe.

User 1: Sees User 2’s argument and begins to type out the snarky response he had already begun to write in his head before posting his original comment. 

The debate rages on as both participants begin to throw together more hastily written arguments, with questionable statistics occasionally thrown into the mix to make their argument sound smarter. Others then chime in, hoping to get in on the action, supporting one of the users and attacking the other, but it isn’t long before the debate has become a whole new futile argument amongst completely different users surrounding a completely different topic. The whole thing is eventually forgotten about, no winner is declared and the two original users are left trying to justify why they canceled plans to spend three hours debating with a stranger in the comment section of a Reddit post. The users continue to go about their life, believing what they believe and gaining nothing from the many hours that they spent arguing. 

While they are quite entertaining to read, social media debates are of no value to anybody. I know it’s tempting to speak up and share your opinions when you see something you disagree with or that makes you angry, but arguing on social media is a waste of time. It’s good to have real conversations, in which each party is willing to learn or explore a new view. The person who resides under the username @trump2020 or @ihateconservatives is not looking to be persuaded by your arguments and is only fighting to fight. So next time you feel the urge to fight someone on social media and to take sport in a social media debate, just don’t.