How to Survive and Win Social Media Debates – 101

How to Survive and Win Social Media Debates – A Definitive Guide about Updating the Old School Debate Skills for the ‘Right’ World

To begin the essay, one honest confession I need to make. I’ve not been into the true debates – where you need to use your voice – even at my school. The one time I was in the misconception that I can pull off debate, I put forth my name along with two others and started preparing. In the end, two people were selected, one eventually went to speak – and both the names were out of the three who applied, and in the popular winnable candidates. I had two takeaways –

  1. You need to be popular to be selected for debates (or anything – unless it’s some outsider who gets to pick and he picks you purely on height, which happened once, unfortunately).
  2. You need to have a loud voice to even qualify for a normal reading in the class, let alone the debates on any level. The few times I ever did readings in class, it was either because everyone was doing it turn-by-turn, or because the teacher was being benevolent.

True, the concept of ideas and thoughts being important for debates never struck me till about a few years back. School never taught the true essence of debates – or perhaps I wasn’t there when it was being taught.

Social media debates are interesting. Social media, especially twitter, offers you a platform of most to-the-point and crisp debates there can ever be. Imagine the luxury of conversing point-to-point in 140 characters, and replying directly to the previous point – which is being quoted. Facebook, too, offers an amazing option, especially with the reply option added. So you can go through spells of having a pretty decent conversation locked in together, with the ability of other people adding value to the debate.

Social Media is a Canvas where you can Paint your Views

In science, I’d read about two worlds – the ideal world and the real world. Usually, the ideal world is not as far off from the real world. But the above is an ideal world of debating on social media. Below are the tips on real-world social media debating:

  1. LOL, ROFL, Ghanta, hahaha
Bullying is so Much Simpler. A ‘Ghanta’ wins you any Indian Argument.

When you’re not able to come up with anything, resort to the above four. It is like Chris Martin is defending a stump-to-stump 150kph delivery of Brett Lee with his technique, on the last ball of the day; to save a Test. Brett Lee of course knows a thing or two about last over and saving Tests.

2. Tag Team

In Social Media Terms – Quantity is Greater than Quality

Try and tag as many people from your ideology or gang you want. This will, in effect, nullify the point of the person whom you’re trying to score over. Each of those tag team guys will put new points, most necessarily without following a sequence, order, or discipline. They’ll ‘+1’ to the points of their team-mates, and will keep adding to each other’s’ point without the original point ever coming in the fray.  By the time everything adds up, the value of logic and constructive discussion would have felt like a fish out of the water, in fishing net – not knowing whether it’s better to die or to get back in water.

3. Reply with 10-pointers

Bombard them, Quantity wins over Quality or Relevance

There’s a saying that goes in Hindi – ‘eent ka jawaab patthar se’. It essentially means giving back a strong reply. What can be a stronger reply than 10 points in reply to 1 – albeit all irrelevant or unrelated. Either the person will be smart and ignore them while pointing you are off the track – which will mean you score a point (and more) since the other person had no reply, or he will be entangled trying to put together the earphone with intermingled wires. By the end of it, he will forget which song he wanted to listen to.

4. Attack the Ideology and the Political Background

Look carefully at the past of the person – whom he supported, even for a minute; whose links did he share, whose lines did he quote, what’s the ideology of those people, are there any current parties or leaders following the ideology? Most likely, you’ll have a name. And these days, either you’re right or you’re wrong. So just find that one link, and attack ‘what more can we expect from a ______’. Fill in the blanks with xyz party, xyz ideology, and xyz leader follower.  

Hate the Player, and the Player’s Game – the modern version of Don’t Hate the Player, Hate the Game

Social media offers proof – so you can share the links too. But usually, you won’t. There will be others who’ll come in your support – just use the right keywords. The good thing is this works all across the globe. I’d thought it was limited to our diverse country, but then the world is coming ever so close for the last few years.

5. Troll

Trolling is Legitimate – Ask World Leaders of Today

Trolling works better than anything ever devised by humankind. You can even troll actors, politicians, superstars, and you don’t need to have your conscience clear for that. If you troll someone for being part of a religion-mocking film, for example, you don’t necessarily need to follow your religion with every detail. I know people feasting on chicken and mutton or savoring the last drops of whatever they drink, and then come out all righteous. Imagine the weapon – it can bring down huge stars. Imagine the impact it will have on the small non-existent existences.

6. What-About?

The best response to win an argument is a statement beginning with what-about and ending with an exclamation mark because it’s not a question at all. It is a check-mate when used properly, unchecked weight enough to cripple the argument if there’s some margin in implementation.

I’ll come back with more pointers as to how you can tackle the social media debates, but I don’t think you really need more. You might be wondering about the lack of the word ‘content’. It’s not needed to win an argument, most definitely. You can use the same copy-paste content from your favorite group – without worrying about its authenticity. You can use a news article from an opinion blog. You can use google images to find something, and write another story on the same. Content is meaningless.

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