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3 Steps to Disagree Profesionally (Respectfully) With an Author on Social Media Without Being a Jerk

Which one of us haven't disagreed with an article or video creator on social media and participated in a somewhat unending debate?

Has it ever made someone say "thanks, I changed my mind after you educated me"? 

I doubt that.

Let me make it clear that you don't have to agree with everything that has ever been published on the internet. The world is too big to be seen with one point of view. And sometimes it's just not worth it to even leave a comment. For example, there are blogs run with the sole intention to disgrace, oppress and rape women where the jerk author gives this sort of douchey advice to men. I don't even want to link it here because he doesn't deserve the traffic and I don't want his poison to spread.

Instead of leaving a comment on his criminally inclined sexist posts, I write positive blog posts about women's leadership and gender equality on my own blog. So, make sure that your positivity is reflected and if you want to make a difference around a social issue, work on building people up FIRST. As far as extremists like him are concerned, don't argue, JUST REPORT THEM TO THE POLICE OR THE SOCIAL MEDIA CHANNEL SO THEY GET BANNED.

Debate and discussion is one thing but most of the time it goes way beyond mere disagreement. For Youtube, the internet has created a new tagline-

I recently came across an article in HuffPost (so you know the author is of course a thougth leader and credible source).

 The article was well written except one of his points that I disagreed with. I decided to leave a comment :)

Soon,  he responded.

And that was that. So, here's what happened and it's also the 

3 Steps to Disagree Profesionally (Respectfully) With an Author on Social Media Without Being a Jerk

Step # 1 Acknowledge the 'good' before the 'bad'

Before you attack someone's self esteem (yes, each author's self view, esteem , whatever you call it) is directly proportional to their work. When you put your thoughts out there for the whole world to pass comments on, you invite vulnerability. But without being vulnerable, you never become strong. 

Anyways, if you totally disagree with the whole concept of the author and there's not one thing in common, it's better to keep your comments to yourself. That's because your comment will not change someone's mind when you come in an attack mode. 

But when you can find something good in their work, your comments get attention and respect from the author. This is the first rule of constructive criticism. 

Step # 2 Choose your words wisely

Disagree like an academic. Reviewing counter arguments and writing about them is half my profession (PhD researcher). 

If in my PhD thesis I began criticising authors the way it's done on social media, my supervisers might kill themselves or me. 

Go along the lines of -

"great insights on ............. however............."

"I admire your work on ............ but was wondering if you know about ....................."

"Good angle, have you considered........................."

You get my point! The key is to NOT use hateful language or words that attack someone personally.

  1. No name calling.
  2. No racism, sexism, homophobia, Islamophobia or remarks on their looks etc.
  3. Be polite and check by reading your comment to yourself LOUDLY. If it doesn't sound like something a JERK would use, then go ahead.

Step # 3 Use Reliable Evidence

Notice in my comment, I shared a YouTube link of a rap video that went viral few months ago where a young woman is describing how Unilever poisoned a town in India and why they need to 'clean up their mess'.

Don't just disagree because you don't like the face of someone or how they sound. 

Make a logical and reasonable argument combined with evidence for your belief. 

The author may or may not agree with you but the more credible the source, the better are your chances of conveying your point.

The whole point of an intellectual argument is to improve upon world view, share information that the author might not have considered and to educate the other readers about something. 

If you merely disagree for the sake of disagreeing and bringing someone down, you're a TROLL. Or in other words, a JERK. You intrinsically like attacking people's self esteem and my 3 steps won't be any good for you.

So, it's not that hard to disagree with someone online but what takes a little effort is to share your disagreement respectfully. 

Therefore, the 3 steps to disagree with an author without being a jerk are:

Step # 1 Acknowldge the 'good' before the 'bad'

Step #2 Choose your words wisely

Step # 3 Use reliable evidence

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