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Respectful Disagreement: What is it? Why does it matter? How do I do it (online)?

Respectful Disagreement: What is it? Why does it matter? How do I do it (online)??

I feel this is a VERY pertinent subject, especially following election results and the election hangover we are all experiencing. People have different perspectives, that’s just a fact. So, if you disagree with someone – especially online, where negativity, lies, hate, and profanity spread quickly – it’s important to make sure that you are in RESPECTFUL disagreement with others.

How do you do that? Try these 5 simple actions on for size:

  1. Do not report a social media post as offensive/violent/etc. unless it truly merits a report. Your disagreeing with the post does NOT make it reportable.
  2. Do not use profanity, name calling, or any other form of tearing someone or their beliefs/position down in your disagreement. Basically: Don’t disrespect the person or their perspective.
  3. If you feel strongly that someone’s message on their social platform is incorrect, reach out to them personally. This is not an invitation to harass them, but an invitation to connect and have a civil conversation, privately.
  4. If you disagree with a post, I URGE YOU to just HIDE the post from your own newsfeed. On Facebook: click on the top right corner of the post – there is a drop down – and choose HIDE POST.
    1. If you FULLY disagree with someone’s view, and they are offensive to you on a regular basis, unfriend them!
    2. If you do not wish to see their posts in your newsfeed anymore – but feel obligated to stay their social media friend because of your in-person relationship – family, colleagues, etc. – you can UNFOLLOW an individual’s updates from coming to your newsfeed! Click the drop down in the upper right corner, and choose, “Unfollow [insert name]”!
    3. I suggest not to eliminate all social friends who have differing opinions from you, as this will eradicate perspective, healthy debate, and potential personal growth! But, this piece is up to you as an individual.
  5. Use social media to spread positivity and hope and STORIES. I know I am not the only one who is tired of social media being an overall platform to spew hate, call names, use profanity, and spread lies.

Keep in mind that we all have our own perspectives and opinions, and that respectful disagreement is possible…it starts with you.

Starting today, I challenge each of us to lead by example and respectfully disagree with others. It’s not just about keeping the peace. It’s about keeping sane, and continuing to grow and move forward together, as a country, as a world – because we are all in this together. Social media bridges so many gaps that separate us. We want to continue to use it as a bridge, and not burn it down.

Think before you speak, disagree respectfully, and make your online home an extended space for hospitality and growth.

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