This last weekend only confirmed my suspicions that the “world wide web” (more specifically social media), is a rather scary place to venture. Without getting into the specifics, I made a slight error on a post made to the Baldwin Bulletin Facebook page making it seem as though I, or the Bulletin as a whole, was firmly taking a political stance…

Chaos ensued.

Admittedly, some of the upset was warranted. If it is not already apparent, let me clarify that The Baldwin Bulletin – as should all news media outlets –attempts to be unbiased and simply report the facts. Because the mistake led people to believe that we were being entirely biased in one direction, I can forgive some of the comments made on that Facebook post.

Having said that, there were many other comments that were just plain nasty, rude, and unwarranted. One in particular said that everyone can agree how terrible my work in particular was and that I should find a different career, because this one is getting me nowhere. Mind you, this article was not written by yours truly, but still… Ouch.

It’s instances like this that make me very leery of social media at all. People that are strongly opinionated have always voiced those opinions, but the ability to hide behind a screen allows for those persons to become even more vindictive and vicious. If you’ve ever scrolled through Facebook or Twitter, it won’t be long before you run into a post with a scathing “comment battle” that is often riddled with insults and profanity rather than thoughtful debate.

So, how does one combat the barrage of “keyboard warriors” attempting to derail your day with a single comment on your Facebook post? Easy, just ignore them.

I realize there are times where something said online is beyond the pale of insulting, damaging, and misinformative, but the majority of the time if someone has the gall just to attempt bringing you down by commenting on your post, don’t even grant them the privilege of your attention. They clearly don’t deserve it.

Now, being the hypocrite that I am, of course I will admit to the occasional Facebook comment war, but this is a very rare event for me. Often this will be in response to a direct attack on friends or family, highly damaging/polarizing political rhetoric, blatant intolerance of race/religion/sexual orientation, etc. If you are not speaking out against these issues, you are contributing to the issue via apathy.

My point is this, if you can possibly avoid engaging in a tirade from a “troll” or “keyboard warrior”, by all means avoid it. However, if you find someone ranting on any of the above-mentioned topics and feel compelled to interject, tread lightly and do so thoughtfully. Just like the middle school playground, they will often resort to petty insults and derogatory slurs to break you down, but you can’t let that happen. Be smart. Argue your points directly without stooping to their level of personal attack. We should all be better than that.

I always welcome your comments, questions, and concerns. Please feel free to reach out to me at any time.

Matt Anderson

805 Main Street

Baldwin, Wisconsin 54002

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