Why the advice? To encourage you to 1) Protect your health and well-being (physical/mental/emotional/social); 2) Protect your reputation; 3) Protect your intellectual integrity.
- ADOPT THE COUNT-TO-10 RULE. If something someone says on the internet pushes your buttons, do not immediately reply. Instead. Count to ten. And think. If you are still worked up, log out and walk away. Give yourself some physical, mental, and emotional space. Ask yourself whether it is worth writing a reply. If you decide to write a reply, ask someone you trust to vet it BEFORE you post. But ask that person to CHALLENGE your argument; i.e. tell me why I am wrong, whether I am thinking this through clearly, am I misunderstanding something, is my tone appropriate, and so on.
(Actually, counting to 10 is good policy before you reply to ANY post. Particularly on short and rapid-fire platforms like Twitter.)
- REFUSE TO LIKE OR DISLIKE ANYONE’S POSTS. If you can disable likes and dislikes on your on platform, do so. Instead of using the like or dislike button, write a reply. But do so ONLY IF you have read the content AND demonstrate that you have read the content; e.g. reply by using one quote along with a comment on that quote. Otherwise, pass it by. Even if someone posts family photos, do not hit like or dislike. Instead, take the time to ask a question, notice something interesting. Or, better yet, phone your friend or long lost family member. Better still, get together for coffee. Just get off the like/dislike carousel. If you are worried about hurting peoples’ feelings, make it clear that your policy is not to use like/dislike buttons.
*If you like this post, you needn’t “like” it. If you put my advice to use, I’ll never know. I am posting this advice because I think there is value in doing so. I’m a worried observer of the negative effects of social media.