Friday, January 28, 2011

Why I Won’t Take the Bait

Port--Jean-Julien Lemordant-1882-1968There is definitely a personality type out there that I’m running into more and more frequently (especially now that my following has increased on Twitter and Facebook.) This type of person is usually very bright and enjoys bringing up valid, if provocative, points on something that I’ve written or a link that I’ve tweeted.

From the way they’ve worded their response to the topic, it’s more in the form of a challenge. It’s occasionally a little on the rude side. It’s clear they’re looking for me to debate the topic.

And I’ll write back and just agree that I can see where someone would share their point of view and leave it at that.

When I agree that a person has a valid viewpoint, an argument is usually defused.

So, recently, a gentleman disagreed with something that I’d tweeted (regarding a post I hadn’t written, but that I’d shared.)

As usual, I wrote back and mildly said that I could see where someone might share his opinion (being, as I always do, careful not to state my own opinion.)

He wrote me back: “It’s not as much fun when you won’t argue the point!”

Do any of us benefit from getting into arguments or debates on Twitter, Facebook, or any other forum?

Here’s why I won’t take the bait:

I know there is more than one way to look at an issue.

I don't like confrontation.

Something that starts out on the friendly side can deteriorate.

I have more to lose than I have to gain.

I don’t have time to argue.

I don’t care enough to argue.

It doesn’t matter to me if I’m right or not.

There is no way I will come out looking good from an argument.

I don’t gain anything from being argumentative.

Words live forever online.

I’ve heard several stories from authors that they had an email from their publisher over a political position the writer took on their blog or an ill-advised argument they had online. I have no desire to get in hot water with my publishers. In some ways I represent them, too.

Do I really want, ten or twenty years from now, my kids to be able to access a pointless argument I had online when I was having a bad day? Or my grandchildren even? This stuff stays out there.

One of the reasons I’m blogging and active in the online community is because I’m interested in hearing a variety of different approaches and ideas from different writers. In fact, I really want to be saturated with these ideas, because that’s how I grow.

So I won’t take the bait—I’m more interested in hearing your argument than in being right.

Have you ever gotten baited online? (I’ll admit to hoping for a ‘yes’ answer because I’m starting to think it’s just me!)