(this post is dedicated to all those I have debated – poorly – on twitter and in blogs)
I must admit that I do enjoy the experience of a good debate, the adrenaline rush, the give and take with a qualified adversary, the thrill of victory and hopefully the expanse of ones views. So often though many of us fall back on cheap tricks, emotional triggers, and framing points of view in extremes or black and white terms – all of which result in polarizing, as opposed to elevating the discussion. This is not a new phenomenon and has been used through the years by some of the most prolific personalities in history. In some cases the result is for the betterment of all and sometimes it is to the detriment of many.
What is new is social media, such as twitter, blogs, facebooks, etc., which provide an excellent mechanism to reach a large population of geographically dispersed people – that is good. Unfortunately the speed at which information is disseminated as well as the lack of detail and time used to build an argument that can facilitate healthy communication is severally impacted in these mediums – that is bad.
I don’t know how many of you have tried to carry on a debate in 140 characters, but it is a poor forum for anything beyond where one should eat dinner and even that can quickly border on contentious if not bounded properly.
Here is an example of a bunch of recent twitter debates (modified slightly and the names have been changed to protect the silly):