Jeffosophy: a collection of possibly useful things I have learned over the years.



Jeffrey writing biting comment to provoking social media post. 

Comments Never Posted

From time to time, I'll see a post on social media that really provokes me and I respond to it with a carefully worded, scathing and condescending response aimed at deflating the poster, making her see the horrendous flaws of her thinking and convincing her to convert to my way of thinking. For example:

Texan FB friend commenting on recent school shooting in America: "It's hard to fathom why this keeps happening in America."

My response: "It's not really. It's the easy access to powerful guns, that allows anyone with a grudge to start shooting kids, that ensures this keeps happening. We have angry people in Belgium too. But, they cannot easily gain access to military grade weapons designed to slaughter people en masse."

Then, I delete my comment and move on.

I delete my comment because I know that if I post my response, it will not end well. I will change no one's mind. I may piss people off. I will probably be deluged with irritating responses often written in poor English and devoid of capitalisation or punctuation (for some reason social and political conservatives often lack fundamental writing skills). And, I might be daft enough to respond to some of those comments, an action that would surely lead to an intellectual downward spiral, anger and perhaps I'd indirectly motivate some angry and well armed guy to go shoot people.

So, posting the comment would bring no satisfaction, but would hurt feelings and might even lead to death of innocent victims. Not an ideal scenario by any means.

Composing and deleting a comment, on the other hand, does bring me satisfaction. I think it might for you too. Allow me to explain.


Clears Your Mind

I believe the biggest benefit of composing messages, that you will not send, is that doing so clears the mind.

For example, if a post on Facebook angers me, it may stick around in my head. I may well waste time imagining brutal responses. I might naively imagine that my well written, brutal, incendiary response will change the way my adversaries think. But, in truth, I know it won't. People don't change their thinking as the result of reading a single comment on social media - no matter how well crafted that comment may be. It takes more than that. So, writing a response helps me to clear my head of such thoughts. Deleting my comment ensures I don't start in a comment war.


Cools Your Emotions

No matter how logical you may feel you are in responding to social media posts, the truth is we are all motivated by emotions. Indeed, a lot of political posts on social media are specifically designed to trigger an emotional response. It is that emotional response that drives you to feel a need to respond; to release feelings of anger or worse.

If you feel angry about a post, writing a piercing comment will likely help diffuse the strong emotions, which is good. If you then delete the comment, rather than send it, you prevent ninnies from commenting on your comment - a scenario that would be certain to provoke another exacerbating emotional respose.


Processing Stuff in Your Head

Another advantage of writing comments you will never send is that it helps you process your thoughts on the issue at hand. You may be provoked emotionally. But, to draft an intelligent response, you need to really think about an issue. You may have to read up on the topic or seek facts. You may even find that your beliefs are not actually in line with the science. All of this helps you process your thoughts on a social media post irrespective of whether or not you actually write a comment.


Intention to Post, but...

I often write comments with the initial intention of posting them - or at least with the thought that I might spost them. I believe this is because an occasional social media post triggers me emotionally and I feel a need to rebut it. However, in writing my comment, I express my emotions thus reducing their weight on me. Then, when I review my comment, I realise I do not need to send it. I feel better simply by having written it. So, I delete my comment and get on with my day.


Try It

If you've never written a comment you do not intend to post, give it a try the next time a social media post triggers you. Write it well. Research it to ensure you are correct, review and revise it. Make sure it's a great response.

Then: delete it.

Or, if you cannot delete it, cut and paste it into a document and save the document for future unsent social media comments.

Likewise, if you do find yourself responding to a provocative post on social media, read your comment carefully before posting it. Make sure it's really good. Then, ask yourself, will it do you or anyone else any good to post this? If not, delete it - or save it to your unsent social media comments document.

Then notice how good it feels.



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