Anyone who uses Facebook has most likely encountered comments that are unusually long and argumentative in character.
Likes and comments follow like accessories each time you write something – anything – on Facebook.
But what might appear to the writer as an innocuous comment could shatter the image you have of yourself.
You argue and counter points lead to more counter points, and the thread of comments keeps growing longer.
And what might appear to be a friendly fight might end your relationship, while such arguments do not lead anywhere.
Writing in the Mashable, Heather Dockray states that “Facebook fighting leads to very few victories”.
Even a PEW research report tells us that friendships often break on Facebook.
The reason is part psychological and part absence of a critical mode of communication.
Dockray quotes Tracy Alloway, a psychologist, who says that people knowingly write controversial stories to “get into discussion”.
There are some who love stirring up a fight, take pleasure in self-gratification or love hurting other’s sentiments on Facebook.
Such commentators enjoy the release of a hormone called Dopamine, which can be best described as the high you get from good sex.
But it is the absence of nonverbal communication on social media that actually ends the relationship.
Nonverbal communication is the communication we make using gestures. Like a thumbs-up sign for approval or…umm…a middle-finger for…you know what.
Around 70 per cent of all our communication is nonverbal, through which we gauge the speaker’s mood or convey ours.
Dockray quotes another psychologist, Larry Rosen of California State University: “You don’t understand their context, their feelings, their emotions, all you have to go on is reflected in your screen.”
If you get to immediately see the facial reaction of the one you are dissenting with, you might stop.
Peter Ditto, UCI Professor of Psychology, says that because our “moral beliefs shape our factual beliefs”, a dissenter shatters the image we have of us in our minds.
The solution, writes Dockray, is that we can reword our comments, or stop commenting.