The Four Methods of Picking a Fight on Social Media

Ahhh, online arguing! It may not even be political, but it always is passionate.

-- Support The Loftus Party via our Patreon account! --

When I was working at a small town newspaper, I had a comic strip by Joe Martin on the wall near my desk that had the heading (I’m paraphrasing here): “What protesters would march about if there were no more war, poverty, politics…etc.” You get the drift. The comic showed a group of Woodstock-era hippies holding up a big banner that read: “MORE COWBELL!!”

I thought this was hilarious, because the “No Cowbell” skit is one of my favorites from any SNL era, and the strip demonstrates that people always have to stand for something…argue about something…be wholeheartedly against something…no matter how inane the topic is.

It is as if we are so full of energy and hot air, if we don’t gripe about something we’ll spontaneously combust. Nowhere else in the world are these little human combustion engines bursting away more than on social media, Twitter and Facebook specifically.

I’m glad to see people exercising their freedom of speech, but it is also a fascinating study to watch people get worked up about things like which Batman is best (Keaton and Bale), or whether or not coffee should be served on ice.

We keep hearing about the political state of the country being strongly divided today, but I don’t think it is all politics. I think it is having an anonymous soapbox at our fingertips that doesn’t require getting gussied up, or being a good orator to use.

There are a few key methods I’ve noticed to picking a Twitter or Facebook fight. Whether politics, pop culture or pet peeves, use these methods and somewhere, someone will take the bait.

The “Set-The-Caps-Lock-Make-A-Statement-And-Repeat” Method

This is a Twitter favorite. Why back up an opinion with facts or links, when you could just as easily “scream” it repeated.

DOGS SHOULD BE ABLE TO VOTE!

DOGS SHOULD BE ABLE TO VOTE!

DOGS SHOULD BE ABLE TO VOTE!

DOGS SHOULD BE ABLE TO VOTE!

DOGS SHOULD BE ABLE TO VOTE!

Actually, I have no clue if dogs are even interested in getting mixed up in politics, but you’ve seen other utterances just as ridiculous. There could be two reasons for this type of method. On a more sinister tone, I think of Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World and the idea of “Sixty-two thousand four hundred repetitions make one truth.”

In reality, those who use this method are actually more in line with a toddler demanding attention and respect:

I’M A PRINCESS! I NEED A PONY!

I’M A PRINCESS! I NEED A PONY!

I’M A PRINCESS! I NEED A PONY!

I’M A PRINCESS! I NEED A PONY!

I’M A PRINCESS! I NEED A PONY!

Parents know how believable that one is, don’t we?

The “Pick-An-Oddball-Fight-Out-of-Left-Field” Method

These are often food oriented. You’re scrolling along looking for a movie or book review, and then someone states with authority:

“Everyone who prefers Five Guys to In-And-Out is a mouth-breathing troglodyte.”

I mean, I have my opinions on where to eat, but isn’t this a little harsh? Then someone counters the argument by saying In-And-Out fries “literally” taste like wet diapers (I’m not sure how they would know this), and someone with a social or political bone to pick with one of them chimes in with their own hated, based on those factors alone.

This is when I think it’s time for everyone to back away from the computer and go stand outside (or better yet walk around the block) until franchise preference falls back to the bottom of their priorities.

Just wait until New Coke comes back as a marketing tie-in for the next season of Stranger Things. That should be a fun one.

On a side note, what’s with this pineapple on pizza debate? I don’t like it personally, but my daughter and her grandpa both do. They’re both still wonderfully nice people. Maybe it skips a generation.

Some people seem to really be passionate about their stance on this one.

The “Drive-By-Hashtag-Fight” Method.

Yes, we’ve seen the big political ones. #ImpeachTrump or #LockUpHillary still circulate, but there are also the #Boycott(InsertYourGripeHere), #SayNo to one thing, or #Demand another. And when you see these hashtags unaccompanied by another comment, that person is either trying to make someone else start an argument, or they are just too lazy to do some research to back up their thoughts.

Ignore them; they don't have the energy or sources (except other hashtags) to back anything up.

Finally...

The “Let’s-Turn-Friendly-Discussions-Into-Fights” Method.

There are several Twitter prompts out there asking users to list their five favorite (or least favorite) something, as well as those "name something you can’t figure out why people are into" (or why people hate it) thread-starters.

I used to answer these, but there are so many of them, I can’t even keep up. Plus, I’m indecisive when you toss the word “favorite” around.

Sure, these always start out fun! Then someone enters a name of a movie that NO ONE should be allowed to love or hate, according to some Twitter user, and well, it becomes personal.

The Tolkien vs. Lewis crowd is a hoot. Why do I have to hate C. S. Lewis just because I think Tolkien is a better author, for Pete’s sake? I like them both! Trust me, find a disciple of one of these guys and start that little debate. I have an inkling it will elevate quickly.

This type of jump-in-and-bicker attitude is like sitting around in a living room with friends having fun debates or conversations when the host’s deadbeat hyper-political brother-in-law drops by and plants himself in the middle of things without even having heard much of the conversation.

I guess you could say that’s the in-person equivalent of a Twitter Troll.

Remember John Lennon’s peacenik sermon: “Imagine”? Imagine there are no countries? No politics? No religion? No possession?

Don’t worry about that. Twitter and Facebook peeps will find something to argue about, and it will likely involve food or movies.

For those new to Twitter arguing, watch this bit from comedian John Crist:

Header Illustration: Lisa Tate

-- Follow The Loftus Party on YouTube, Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook! --

Comments