Tuesday, 28 June 2016

Arguing on Social Media 101: The ................... 4-Step (insert the name of your favourite exponent of the art on the dotted line)

1. Identify the person with whom you disagree (remember: they are wrong)

3. Hope others join in, and also scream loudly and point

4. await praise

Why is it like this?

Well: what have the superficial appearance of arguments, dialogues and deliberations on social media are often, actually, sanitised versions of courtship rituals or ritualistic sacrifice, or some sanitised hybrid version of the two.

Some poor soul thinks they've been invited to a discussion to find out only too late that they are actually the sacrificial lamb: imagine a kind of Hammer Horror for the Social Media generation - "hey, let's debate ............." ... "Okay, great! Oh, you have a particularly ornate, one might say ceremonial, knife. Why are you wearing that odd hooded cape? What's with the chanting..? Oh, hang on...".

So, starting to realise things are not as they had initially assumed, our hero tries to reason, tries to rebut accusations, challenge premises and expose the flaws in the arguments, but all the participants in the ritual hear is bleating, which in turn just makes them more frenzied: 

In the hybrid version, the participants are further motivated by the thought of courting favour with their emperor or empress, who is looking on, and who might occasionally offer encouragement. Such favour makes them feel purposeful and worthwhile.

Go on, indulge me. It's been a long day ;-)

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