A friend posted a few days ago, “I argued with a lot of people today on Facebook. A lot of people. It was a good day.”
I have a lot of respect for this friend. But, honestly, I can’t think of a bigger waste of time (which is, ultimately, a waste of life). (I also think that maybe he was kidding, but what if he’s not?)
Paraphrasing Scott Adams, creator of Dilbert: Don’t waste your time arguing with idiots. At the end of the day you will be exhausted and they will still be idiots.
Paraphrasing the great science fiction author Robert A. Heinlein: Never try to teach a pig to sing. You’ll just waste your time and annoy the pig.
I’m spending less and less time on Facebook these days. I mainly use it to connect with old friends from high school and college I haven’t seen in 40 years and to spread messages I care about (mostly having to do with effective communication). A filter from SocialFixer.com automatically hides most political posts.
It’s not that I don’t care about politics. I’m perfectly happy to have a discussion with someone who will share their own views reasonably and respectfully and who will listen to mine. We both get smarter that way.
However, that just doesn’t happen in social media. I will not waste time in “real life” with someone who only wants to rant. Why would I do that on social media?
It’s not that I think people who disagree with me are idiots not worth spending time on. It’s just that I have never learned anything useful about politics from social media, and I have never changed anyone’s mind about politics on social media.
At the end of the day, I would rather be able to say, “I made life better for a lot of people on Facebook today. A lot of people (even if I had just a little bit of impact). It was a good day.” That’s hard enough, and that may be why more of us don’t try it.
It’s just easier to argue. Easier. But it’s also just a waste of life, and I don’t have enough of that left to waste it arguing.
Maybe that’s why you and I are spending more time on Medium.
About the writer
Donn King is a speaker, writer, college professor and pastor. He blogs regularly at Thriving in Exile, a publication on practical Christianity to cope with living in post-everything America.