Why Facebook “Comment Wars” Never Change Anyone’s Views…

Listen. I get it.

The comment section on a controversial piece is eye catching, heart pounding and it brings even the best of us to a new low of frustration and name calling.

We all want to be heard. And in the heat of the moment, we read something that causes a flash of emotion and feel a desperate need to respond. We know it’s not true. We know it’s unjust! We just KNOW it. And desperately we want everyone to see the truth…at least the way we see it.  And maybe, just maybe, if I explain my argument in just the right way others will come to their senses. Right?!?

After a few years on Facebook, I’ve come to realize that the comment section is absolutely useless unless used to encourage, express love, compassion or sympathy for those around us.  Or if you’re a real “soap opera” type, I guess it has some entertainment value…

But, truly, never has anyone’s political views been changed because of what some “Joe Commenter”  said.

Why then, do some of us still waste endless hours in these comment wars? Why then do we feel like we’re making a difference at all while sitting on a chair typing a long-winded response to who- knows-who, who’s also doing nothing more than sitting on a chair behind a screen, ferociously typing back theirs?

We have this illusion that because we have so many people that can read what we’ve written, we might just make a difference or change someone’s mind. After all, writing has power, doesn’t it?!?

In the past, reporters have gone into dark places and written powerful pieces, forever shaping and changing our views. It’s one of the things I love about writing! There is often more power in a pen, than in the all the long-winded speeches, awareness rallies and marches I could plan.

Examples of this?

Practically no one gave orphans a second glance in 1800s. But along came Charles Dickens, and with one book “Oliver Twist”,  people sort of snapped out of their hardened view of “the poor scoundrels” and their hearts began to care.  They began to see the lives of these children for what they were: hard, lonely, dark and hopeless. They realized the bleak futures these street children had. People began to bring these children into their own homes. Even the government started opening up orphanages as a result of his work.

Or how about the famous Nellie Bly, who risked her life going undercover in an insane asylum to bring light to the horrific conditions and treatment given to those living with handicaps or mental illness. The article she wrote became famous, resulting in the asylum firing many abusive employees and improving conditions for the patients. In addition over $1,000,000 was raised to help benefit the mentally ill.

Writing can and does make a HUGE difference! So why is no one listening to you in the comments?

1) On Facebook, you aren’t a real person, you are just a bubble on the screen with a name. This is why people are so incredibly rude and instantly resort to insults and name calling online. They would never talk that way to your face, but hidden behind a screen they are “safe” to say whatever they want. These cowardly “trolls” and online bullies often make fake profiles and accounts, just to really rile up the crowds. Ignore them. Really, you have no clue what kind of person is behind that screen! What are they doing for the world? What influence do they really have? What kind of job do they have? Judging by the hours they spend tapping their typewriters it’s obvious they aren’t a contributing member of society. Therefore you will not solve their problems or the problems they are causing by acting like them. Let it go.

2) Those who are in argument mode are already convinced of their stance. When someone is in a debate, most often they’ve already heard all the arguments before and are reading your comments with eyes half closed, thinking more deeply about how to give you a well thought out rebuttal than actually thinking through any of your points…But let’s say you actually do enter a conversation with an intelligent and open minded individual – maybe, just maybe, if they’re so open, there’s someone in their life who will be able to convince them of truth better than an online stranger? Do you really have a heart to convince every online stranger to think like you do? Is that your life mission? Ask yourself, “Do I really have no connections within my own circles of life which I would be better off discussing these things with in person?”

3) Finally, as my pastor so perfectly put it the other week, “There’s never enough proof for a hard heart.”

I will be completely open here: I’m 100% pro-life. Not only do I say it, I live it. And believe me, there’s nothing that’s as tempting for me to argue about than this cause. Because I truly believe babies are being killed by the thousands in the place that should be the safest for them: their mothers womb. I long for nothing more than others to see this as well. But I will not argue on Facebook about it. Because there is literally no argument, no proof of human life that I can offer that hasn’t already been said…A window into the womb perhaps? Oh right, that’s called ultrasound, we already can see the baby.

How about science? Oh right, we already have that too: the very first cell is completely, 100% human DNA. It divides continually, growing, LIVING. Not a parasite, as a parasite doesn’t share the genetic makeup for the human hosts eye color and skin tone.

How about bloody pictures, gruesomly showing the evil slaughter that goes on behind closed doors…oh right, we have that too! And most of us have seen enough of them that we hardly blink an eye anymore.

Let me say it again: There’s NEVER enough proof for a hard heart.

So what do I do about my passion for life and protecting the unborn? How about caring for the unborn AND their mothers? Encouraging women with my story of teenage pregnancy and how I got through the difficulties I faced, offering friendship to those in difficult situations, helping out a single moms, by babysitting or bringing meals, or even giving to them financially. There are so many other ways!

How about fostering or doing respite for foster families? Volunteering at a crisis pregnancy center…

If you’re passionate about making wrong things right, stop reading the comment sections and ask yourself: What can I really do to make a difference?

Then, for crying out loud, get off Facebook and DO IT!!