Facebook, once a place to max out photo albums and prove just how awesome life after
high school became (remember when you had to have a college email to sign up?), is now the virtual boxing ring of public discourse. An opinion cesspool. Not too long ago Facebook tried to market itself as a friendly timeline of life events, but it was too late. We didn’t care. Controversy is king and we can’t get enough.
Pandora’s box was opened when the status update started asking, “What’s on your mind?” Well Facebook, since you asked…Because really, who doesn’t want to engage in a virtual debate on sensitive social or political issues in front of everyone they know?
After the requisite (and shameful) 10,000 hours, I have officially reached expert level in Facebook spectating. So, allow me to present a few tips and tricks commonly used to dominate a Facebook Face-off.
Except there really is no face to face. Just little icons representing the faces of these so-called people. They disagree with you and now they are the Toby to your Michael Scott.
Disregard all relationships.
This is an absolute prerequisite. Before you go to battle with one of your Facebook friend’s friends or even your own friend, all consideration for existing or previous friendships must immediately be disregarded. If that means insulting your best friend’s mother-in-law, so be it.
Often the person who wrote the status in the first place nervously moderates, “Can I just say how lucky I am to have an outspoken grandma and a passionate co-worker debating civilly in front of everyone I know? And how grateful I am that we can all disagree without making it awkward for me next time I see them?”
Not going to happen. You have a point to make and if casualties are required, so be it. If you’re going to burn bridges, do so explosively.
Speak smart stuff.
Take notes from SNL’s Girl-You-Wish-You-Hadn’t-Started-A-Conversation-With-At-A-Party:
Respond in the most condescending tone possible. Tell them to actually read and then offer to educate them. Send them some links to highly biased blogs with zero credibility. Bust out every three syllable word you’ve ever found on thesaurus.com. Why write “use” when you can replace it with a beefy “utilization”? Bust out the old term paper tricks, turning a paragraph into a 3-page essay. Even if your logic isn’t totally sound, you will totally sound like you tried.
Fire off personal insults.
This is the real juice. Now is the time for name-calling and questioning your opponent’s character in any way possible. Often they aren’t even your facebook friend, so you really are the most qualified person to tell them exactly what’s wrong with them. Assume there is no reason they are friends with your friend, have never read a book, suffered a brain injury and regularly beat their spouse. But remember, this is a classy throw down so no calling someone a “butthead” or “jerkoff.” Compare them to Hitler, but not a body part. Only sophisticated insults allowed in a pseudo-intellectual social media debate. Try one of these common put-downs: radical, extreme, bigoted, uneducated, ignorant, racist, sexist, feminist, intolerant, unchristian, judgmental, hypocritical, and pathetic. Apply generously.
Act unfazed by it all.
Although your blood is clearly boiling, don’t let your opponent know they’ve gotten to you. Pretend it’s all sort of funny and silly, “Hahaha ok sure,” Or throw in a casual, “lol, I can’t even take you seriously.” Also include some smiling or winking emojis for extra snark. You could care less. You’ve only spent your entire day writing and editing your comments on this thread. It’s whatever.
DQ your opponent.
He can’t say he’s sad about violence to gays because he isn’t gay. She can’t weigh in on race issues because she’s white. He can’t make a statement on abortion because he doesn’t have a uterus. She isn’t qualified to discuss the constitution because she wasn’t there when it was written.
Be the first to walk away, sort of.
Pretend to give them the last word, but not really. Announce you’re leaving the conversation, make one final point about how ignorant your opponent is and then finish with a snarky bit of goodwill like, “Have a nice day” or “God bless” or “Have a nice life.” Suddenly you’re the bigger person and walking away. Because really after 6 hours of back and forth, you’re too good for this. Plus your boss has been doing a suspiciously increased number of walk-bys and you aren’t willing to sacrifice your livelihood for a 19th round of closing arguments. That is, unless your opponent is. In that case, you aren’t afraid of a Facebook filibuster. You had a life, but you are prepared to lose it.
Join the panel of judges.
You don’t always have to be a major player in the Facebook Face-off. You can be a passive
participant by liking all your favorite comments, thus encouraging your team to fight to the finish. Don’t risk your own neck by saying what you think, just follow along, adding your own vote to the debate. One like for you. No likes for him.
You can also participate without anyone ever knowing. Contention isn’t really your thing, but like a dog on vomit you keep coming back for more. You’re too good for a Facebook debate, yet you’re refreshing the page every few minutes to follow the action, while live- reporting every new comment to the person sitting next to you.
And there you have it. It’s a war of words out there, and everyone’s winning in their own minds. And by following the tips above, you can too! Good luck fellow Facebookers. I’ll be with you in spirit- ghost watching.
I have a feeling all this warfare could be solved through the wisdom of everyone’s first virtual friend, the almighty Myspace Tom. But he basically disappeared. It’s like he created this social media world, and then left us to fight it out alone. Meanwhile I find him in a dark corner in the Twittersphere enjoying retirement and looking for crab sandwich recipes….Thanks Tom.
Also just for fun, this is a FB post I’ve considered sharing for a while, but I’m honestly afraid even a satirical post could trigger a Facebook Face-off. But, then again, yeehaw…
This country should be more tolerant. Anyone who I think is intolerant can just get the hell out. Speak up! Silence is half the problem. l WILL delete your comment if you say something I dislike. Awareness of issues and continuing conversations is how we will create lasting change. I refuse to hear anything that contradicts me. Diversity is the lifeblood of the nation, and I will de-friend anyone who disagrees with me. We need to come together and find solutions because YOU are the problem. Love is all that matters. And I hate everyone.” (Edited)