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Before I Hit the Button...

Updated: Sep 16, 2021

Here's some questions I ask myself before I post something on social media or engaging in a debate:

  • Am I telling someone what I think or feel or am I telling someone else how they should feel or think?

I think sometimes as writers when post we forget the importance of "show don't tell." It's important to appeal to people's thoughts and senses. I don't think my audience wants to be bonked over the head with a blunt diatribe or declarations.

  • Would what I’m about to say be better heard as a more open-ended question?

The Socratic method reaches readers sometimes more effectively than making declarations. The most important step to getting someone to change their minds is to remind them to think critically for themselves. To keep their minds open to new information.

  • Am I using a post as a podium or soapbox? Why? Is it because I am frustrated or mad?

I don't think anyone wants to feel belittled, patronized, or talked down to. As annoying or rude the other person(s) may be, it's important to me to remain as calm in tone as possible. I hold out hope that everyone will listen a little to a point, concern, or idea I want to share if they feel they are listened to first.

  • Am I using a post to set myself apart or show how I’m not like or better than other people I dislike?

It is fun for me to share some of my poetry and art. And I enjoy seeing other people posting their creations too. But why do so many people put other people down or name call others to make themselves look or feel better? I feel when I get lured into that trap that I am acting in a way I dislike.

  • Am I just posting someone’s quote or image without even giving credit or attribution? Is there something I can add to explain why I want to share this re-post?

I see this a lot. People copy and paste in someone's image, art, quote, etc. without giving credit or providing the source where it came from. But it's courteous to give credit where credit is due. We are shocked when kids plagiarize/cheat on papers or test, and then we as adults turn around and engage in a form of plagiarism/copyright violations ourselves?

  • Am I venting? Is this the place and way to do it? And if so, why?

Anger and complaining both have their place. Positive change can come from both if handled correctly. I've asked friends on social media if they think they're being constructive when they post some rant or complaint. They usually say they're not concerned with that and that they do it so they will feel better. My thoughts on that is then at least share more privately the rant, not on public view for anyone to see. Like complaining about a bad restaurant experience...some might want to just name the restaurant and how awful it was instead of trying to relay the complaint to the restaurant manager. That complaint posted in a public way could torpedo a restaurant for an honest human mistake.

  • If I’m having a debate, am I being courteous and avoiding name-calling or being accusatory?

I've had my heart racing I've gotten so mad at what someone posted. But I think it's important to cool down and not get into a name-calling shouting match. The point of debating on an issue to me is to share points of view. Hopefully we educate each other on our points of view.

I'd love to hear your thoughts on my ramblings. How do you debate and converse through social media? Or in person? What has worked? What didn't work?

My mini watercolor of two beavers.

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