Don't Be Mean on Facebook

Jason Weiland

I know you see the injustice. I know there is a part of you that would step up and do whatever it takes to see lasting change if only you could. I know how hard it is to watch all the bad news in your feed and not do something about it. I know you wish you could make a difference.

But you can make a difference. You can be the voice of reason on Facebook, Twitter, or Tumblr if you really want to put yourself out there.

Photo by Kaitlyn Baker on Unsplash

Look at me. Just a year ago, I was a simple writer who lost my voice in the cacophony of selfishness that is Facebook. I put up links to the pieces I write, posted a few selfies (but not enough that people think I’m vain and self-indulgent), and shared a few memes; nothing special, because after all, why should I offend anyone?

Everyone’s entitled to their own opinion. Right?

I used to think so until I realized that there were people who had opinions that were not only ignorant and moronic, but hurtful and harmful as well, and why should someone be allowed free reign without consequences?

I knew I needed to start speaking out about things I found to be, not just unfair, but disgusting and wrong. I needed to be someone who my noble snowflake brethren could look to as a source of strength, and yes, power in the fight against all that is evil and wrong.

But I had a problem. I hate confrontation. I hate insufferable mansplainers, and the last thing I wanted was to be one. The thought of getting into an argument gave me crippling anxiety and the idea that I would be just as intolerable as an incel made me want to be very cautious from the outset.

I knew I had to make the people in the wrong think differently— conservatives, Republicans, and Trump-loving ignoramuses — but I also had to be cautious that I didn’t misstep and offend the uber-PC liberals I knew and loved.

How do we fight against them if we have no power? How to we ensure that the evil we see every day doesn’t continue? How do we show that we won’t stand and allow the Republicans to destroy the country we love?

Become an Anti-Keyboard Warrior

As someone who hates confrontation, I found a way to make a difference that didn’t leave a trail of bodies in my wake. I’ll admit it’s not a perfect solution because I still lose friends and offend family every day, but for the most part, I stay in with the good graces of the people who matter. Even the ones who don’t like what I do, at least still love me and support me.

Keyboard Warrior: A Person who, being unable to express his anger through physical violence (owning to their physical weakness, lack of bravery and/or conviction in real life), instead manifests said emotions through the text-based medium of the internet, usually in the form of aggressive writing— Urban Dictionary\

Don't just be a keyboard warrior!

The way to fight against the malice and still stay in the good graces of your liberal friends is to be nice! That’s it! Just be nice and pleasant.

It is still possible to make a passive-aggressive point by remaining agreeable and calm. It’s a fine line you walk, but you can tight-rope it if you are careful. Some conservatives can be petty and insulting — it’s their nature — but you don’t have to stoop to their level.

And the tool I have found that works the best in every situation is the meme.

Memes Are the Primary Weapon of the Resistance

In case you think I’m joking, I’m not. Why do you think those Russian assholes spent so much money promoting memes on Facebook? Memes work! Memes always seem to say exactly what you wanted to say but didn’t have the words.

Source: OccupyDemocrats

And memes allow you to let someone else take most of the heat, because you, anti-keyboard warrior, are a messenger. You will make an impact, but most of us move on to the next level and difficulty because we want to do more.

The War of Words

I know a lot of people reading this right now are writers because I live in a sheltered world made up of mostly writers on Facebook. The next step for the anti-keyboard warriors is to start writing about the injustice in our society.

For me, it started with racism. Early on in my writing career, I wrote "White Men - Let's Talk About Racism" and except for memes, it was the first time in my life I ever stood up for something. It received a lot of attention, both good and bad, and remains one of my most-read stories.

Then, I doubled down and tackled toxic masculinity with “Why Do Guys Send Unsolicited Dick Pics?” Again there were good and bad responses, and I followed a similar pattern as with the first essay and said what I needed to say but was nice about it.

There is nothing wrong with being nice.

Next, I tackled the evil empire and wrote: “I am American, But I Don’t Want to Go Back There.” For some reason, I forgot about being kind and the angry responses I received both in comments and on social media show just how much it helps to be helpful while you tighten the noose.

I wrote more and more articles and essays. I didn’t make it my niche or “thing,” but every so often, I would add spice and stir the pot.

But, like every excellent anti-keyboard warrior, I felt the need to do more.

Putting Yourself Out There

Most of you who know me, know that I speak out. I may not always have been known for being political, but I certainly am now.

I do have confrontations.

Sometimes, I will shut down a battle that isn’t going anywhere if I know that no matter what I say, a person will not change. Depending on the person, I may even block them, especially if they are a Trump-apologist, anti-vaxxer, or right-wing religious zealot.

Other times, I will argue in a friendly way until I make my point. But, I make sure I listen too because I like to be clear with what I am fighting against. The person can accept it and move on, or choose to do their own blocking if they are that upset.

But now I want to take it a step further, but as much as I would like to join protests or knock on doors for my favorite candidates, I can’t.

So what can I do?

I am still an American. I pay taxes. I vote. I do all the things that other Americans do. I can still sign petitions and join groups encouraging people to vote.

I can continue to write about politics, injustice, and the evil that we do to each other, and I will. I will be as active as I can, and I will use my voice for the greater good. I will do as much as I can with the situation I am given.

But what about you?

Are you still at the meme stage? It’s okay; I’m not facetious when I say that it is something that needs doing. We must spread the truth far and wide, so everyone regardless of party or religious affiliation will see what they need to see to make informed decisions.

Spread the memes. Add your own commentary. Argue in the comments. If you are kind and don’t make it personal, sometimes you can have great conversations.

If you write, write about important things. Don’t just fall into the rut of calling yourself a writer when all you do is repackage ideas as self-help and write about having a positive attitude. Make people think. Make them mad. Make them change their minds.

If you are a writer, use your gift to make a difference.

Make some noise. Make your voice heard and get people voting. Write letters to congresspeople. Expose the dirty underbelly of politics in your writing and get published in big publications.

Make people think about the issues that matter. And even if your candidate isn’t nominated, now more than ever, we need to get the people who stayed at home for the last election to either go to a voting place or, better yet, send a mail-in ballot.

Stop being silent, but be gentle and friendly.

A little sugar goes a long way.

Note: I used the useless word “nice” so much to spite my evil 4th grade English teacher, Mrs. Redman, who spat her angry cobra-spittle in my face one day when I used the word to describe another teacher.

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Writer and advocate interested in mental health, health, family, culture, creativity, and success.

Los Angeles, CA

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