August 9, 2014

You Cannot Win an Argument on Social Media (But You Can Have the Last Word).


Of the many lessons I have learned over the past 50 years of my life, the most important has been that you cannot win an argument on social media.

No. You cannot. Don’t even try. Step away from the “send” button.

I have experience with this because I write about yoga and I have a sense of humor, which is apparently controversial. There are people who take yoga uber seriously and who, coincidentally, also should consider humor as a growth opportunity.

FYI: I take yoga seriously. I just take myself lightly.

I even had a stalker a few years ago who called every media outlet, publisher and yoga studio where I work to tell them to ban me because I’m not funny. Of course this is ridiculous, because I am very funny. What wasn’t funny was that some employers actually listened to her.

My kids, who are at the tender age of “Please-God-Don’t-Embarrass-Me,” are mortified by the holy roller righteous yogis and their responses to blogs. When I tackled the touchy topic of what to wear to practice yoga, my kids cut me off on social media. By the time I got around to incense, being gluten-free and teaching older students how to practice safely, they needed a witness protection program.

“We just can’t be associated with you anymore,” said one boy. “It’s too dangerous.”

Over the years the interaction on social media has given me a thick skin and a slight dependency on alcohol. I’ve learned you cannot argue with crazy.

But I also have a few comebacks that may be of help if you decide to write about something as contentious as finding peace or practicing meditation. Om shanti and good luck!

1. “You can’t be serious. Did you not realize that this piece was humor?” I like this response because it is educational. It helps people to understand that sometimes laughing is better than crying.

2. “Thank you.” You know, because “Thank you is the new F@#k You.” I’m trademarking that, so every time someone uses the term “Thank you,” I will get money. If other people can trademark a rainbow, or an energy spiral soaring out of a unicorn’s rear, then I can trademark a colloquialism.

3. “I can’t respond to your email now because I am in Morocco, practicing on the beach in a bikini, teaching a retreat or putting photos on Instagram.” Actually, I’m probably just making dinner.

4. “I’m practicing non-judgment so I won’t be able to respond.” Right? Because the people who say they are more yogic than you are also practicing non-judgment? FYI: That was sarcasm.

5. “This blog was not about you.” However, be warned that this rarely works. There are people who believe that everything that happens on the internet is always about them.

6. “I am not a (homophobic, racist, child-abuser, etc.), but if it makes you happier to think of me as such, then go ahead. I’m here to serve.” Don’t argue. You won’t win, and you will get covered in mud in the process. There are people who live to take others down, and that’s all there is to it.

7. “I will think about that.” This response offers hope and sounds yogic. However, the truth is I probably won’t think about it at all because I am practicing yoga on the beach and posting the photo to Instagram. So Namaste, and whatever. Have a nice day and remember, step away from the send button.

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Editor: Emily Bartran

Photo: woodleywonderworks/Flickr

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