To or not to reply to someone's comment on your social media post can be a very challenging thing to decipher at times.
Getting people's attention is easy on social as passing sarcastic remarks or derogatory comments on someone's work or thoughts is easy.
These events of replying to unwanted comments often lead to keyboard wars and the waste of precious productive hours on virtual arguments that often lead to no result.
Award-winning journalist Estelle Erasmus, in an article published on Wired.com, has shed light on the phenomenon of the urge or temptation to snap back at online comments.
At the beginning of the article, Estelle stated that when it comes to social media conflagrations the motto that she follows is "don't add your air to someone else's fire".
At the same time, she has also compiled the opinions of communication experts on the matter at hand.
According to Michele Borba, educational psychologist and author of Thrivers, no response is a great response, and often the most powerful response when it comes to such matters.
"When it's on social media or not in person, it's easier for them to do it because you can't see them," says Borba. "Saying it face to face is a lot harder, especially when they want to be insulting or are deliberately trying to hurt you."
Borba suggested that people on the social media forums who pass such comments or are eager to argue on a notion that a person believes in often do it for attention. People who instigate such comment wars often do it to undermine the person with a contradictory thought and do it by high jacking someone else's platform.
In these circumstances, not giving them a response is a perfect way to evade conflict and deprive them of the unwanted attention they want to generate on social media posts.
Borba suggested that if a person truly wants to reply to such arguments then replies like, "I would like to see the backup or the research on that" or "Some concrete proof to back-up your argument would be nice" is also a great way to redirect the course of the argument and shift focus power from the arguer.
Sameer Hinduja, co-director of the Cyberbullying Research Center, said, "Whenever we respond to someone trying to insult us, we show we deeply care about their opinion. And then we've given them the power to invalidate us."
Hinduja also suggests that staying calm during these situations and not showing aggression is a good way to evade conflict. If a person wants to reply and has the urge to clarify a point in the online argument then replies like "Why do you think so?" or "Which data supports it?" can be also helpful.
Not responding on social media can be the best way of showing strength, rather than lending your voice and energy to the noise.
Research published in the journal Psychological Science shows that firing up the keyboard is not nearly as effective as speaking to someone one-on-one or sharing visuals.
In this regard, San Francisco–based therapist and educationist Ulash Dunlap suggests that if the person who made such a statement on your social media post is not closely related to you then it is okay to ignore the comment. However, if that person is closely related to you then the best thing to do is message or call that person and have a one-on-one communication to avoid miscommunication.
Dunlap also recommends taking five minutes and assessing the situation before responding, and avoiding knee-jerk reactions on social media. This in turn hides the fact that people have pushed your buttons and have your attention at hand.
Dunlap said, "If someone is devaluing you or bullying you over your beliefs, or looking to make themselves right and you wrong, or looking for fame through you, then end the conversation, either by not responding or even saying, 'Thank you for your feedback,' similar to how corporations respond when criticised."