I have done this countless times on Facebook and Twitter. Then I stopped doing this except for some occasions. Even in those exceptional cases I didn’t drag it till eternity. I realized debating on social media is very tempting but a very bad idea and total waste of time. In fact, I think spending more than 10 minutes a week on Facebook is a bad idea but I nevertheless do this.
So why do I think debating on social media is bad?
- On social media, everyone is an expert
Everyone on social media is intelligent, thanks to Google. You really don’t have to know things. You really don’t have to be an expert on something. On your Mozilla or Chrome browser, you open Facebook on one tab and Google on another. You just search stuff, copy the link and paste into comment box. And that is how one becomes intelligent on Facebook. You don’t know about Big Bang. No problem. If you are a theist and Big Bang argument is going against you, you just search in Google for ‘cases against Big Bang’ or ‘problems with Big bang’ and Google returns hundreds of links. You copy one of those links and post it as an argument. Or if you are an atheist, you just search what some scientist has said and post it. The real test is when you debate face-to-face. Only then your knowledge is tested. But I think really knowledgeable people don’t waste time on debating. For them, time and knowledge matter.
- It is not a debate. It is propaganda. Or free style wrestling contest.
How many people have you converted? Or how many people have changed your understanding as an outcome of debate on social media? No one is bothered about learning new things on social media. No one wants to look at things from different point of view. No one wants to believe that there is always a truth on other side as well. Social media is a platform for spreading your own propaganda. When you debate someone on social media, you and your opponent is basically forcing their biases, prejudices and bigotry on each other. Your friends on social media are either your real-life friends or the ones who share your political/religious/social views. Unlike real life debate, other people too join debate on social media and this only worsen things.Ultimately people resort to name calling and ad-hominem attacks.
- Social Media makes you aggressive and narcissistic
Studies seem to confirm it. Read this and this. Your identity is hidden. People on social media don’t know you. You are safe in front of your laptop. You have opened Google on your browser. There is no downside if you resort to aggression and abusing. No one is watching you. And all of these things collectively changes your behavior in negative ways. You are not the same person on social media as you are in your real day-to-day life. Besides, spending more time on Facebook has been associated with loneliness, isolation and sense of envy and I can testify to that. Next time you debate someone on Facebook, you should know with what kind people you are debating. Debating on social media, I feel, makes you sadist. Think about this: other than Facebook and Twitter, how many meaningful websites do you visit regularly?
- After a while, debate loses course
You start with a point. Your opponent offers a counterpoint. This goes on and on. Finally, you forgot what you were debating on. You are now blabbering over the things which have nothing to do with the starting point. If you scroll down to later part of any debate and guess about the topic of debate, chances are you would be wrong. And there are high chances you are going to discuss Hitler. It has happened with me quite a many times. Later I came to know there is this Godwin’s Law which roughly asserts that as discussion/debate on Internet grows longer, chances are Hitler’s name is going to pop up.
- Social media is ruthless
This is an ugly truth. Social media is as ruthless as it can gets. Nobody gives a damn to how you feel. Quite often you will be hurt and there is nothing you can do about it. The abusive behavior and trolling which is pretty common on social media is not that common in our real life. I am Hindu and have many Muslim people around us. We never face any conflict and we co-exist peacefully in normal world. But on social media, this is a drastically different scenario. Our anger and hatred toward other group come out with full force. There is no such thing as etiquette and manners as far as social media is concerned and especially when you are dealing with the people you don’t know.
Finally, be intelligent enough to debate someone. But be wise enough to avoid the debate. (That is my ‘copyright’ quote.) Besides, Internet is an unlimited source of profound knowledge. Rather than wasting time in strutting your limited knowledge, why shouldn’t we take benefit of unlimited knowledge residing on Internet? Why to debate with ordinary people when you can read about giant intellectuals’ work?
If you are looking for cool, interesting, or meaningful websites, I have listed many of them here.