I was cruising Twitter recently and I saw one of the “internet famous” people I follow make a comment to someone else to “F… off”. This, being someone I respect, I looked into the conversation. Knowing some of the details and life experiences of the famous person. I understood why they felt the way they did. However, I was deeply saddened to see what they had done.
I was sad to see them treat someone else like this online.
I was also saddened because he “poured water on his gremlin.”
They amplified the message of the gremlin who was attacking their point of view and their stance. Any time we interact with people who are bringing a contrary drive-by commentary from the other side of a keyboard. We are “getting our gremlins wet.”
When we reply to our gremlins, we are inciting other people to interact with the message of our gremlin. We are inviting other people to see what they are saying. Especially when it is not a message we endorse, we are amplifying their message. When we interact with them, we are making them stronger.
Truly, gremlins have one goal.
When we interact with them, we amplify their message.
When someone presents a contrary message to what you are presenting, you feel like you just absolutely HAVE to respond, and you are worried they are a gremlin, offer them the opportunity to take the conversation private. Taking the conversation private offers a safe place to have a healthy conversation. Gremlins do not take you up on this offer and they think they can change your opinion 140 characters at a time.
A constructive human being will take you up on your offer to take the conversation private because they generally care about you and want to have a productive dialogue on the topic.
How do you respond when someone attacks you on Facebook? How do you treat people who post about controversial topics online? Are you trying to change people’s opinions and beliefs with strongly worded posts and comments social media?