The Three Sides to Every Online Conversation

Lately it seems I have seen few more online “battles” and “scuffles” where at least three people are arguing about something. Arguing about something is not necessarily a bad thing, but when it turns ugly and the participants start to tear at each other, it can give a bad perception.

Mack Collier, founder of #blogchat, said recently, “Remember there are 3 sides to every online convo: Your side, my side and the side of everyone watching our exchange.”

He’s right. When you are publicly arguing online, there are always people watching. On Twitter you can click the quote box on someone’s actual Twitter profile to see the entire conversation, you can follow the conversation on TweetDeck and you can follow the conversation in general. Monitoring is easy.

On Facebook, it’s even easier because you can just see all the comments right out in the open.

Stating opinions, slight arguments or even small disagreements are okay, in my opinion. When it’s a team against another person or two teams against each other and the convo takes a nasty turn, there is a problem because so many people can see it and it does not make anyone look good.

I’ve been involved in two real online “fights” and I realized afterward that it did not help me or the other person. If you want to fight online or someone is picking a fight online, take it to messaging or do not participate at all. My advice is to try not to do it so publicly.

Common saying: “what goes online is on the internet forever.” While someone may not get a screenshot of your argument, unless you go back and delete everything, the argument will stay there for quite a few days and quite a few people will be able to see it. And remember, all tweets are saved in the Library of Congress!

Just be aware of what you are saying and doing online in general because people will talk about it and see it which could lead to a damaged reputation for you.


Other posts about managing your online reputation:

Watching Your Social Media Footprint

Social Media Footprint is the new resume by @MichelleTripp

Job hunting? Watch what you tweet

7 Deadly Twitter sins by @JessicaMalnik

7 Deadly Facebook sins by @JessicaMalnik




3 thoughts on “The Three Sides to Every Online Conversation

  1. I believe that at the point that the arguments will get nasty, you just have to agree to disagree… Not everyone has to have your point of view in the discussion and by doing that you would avoid jeopardizing your reputation.
    Thanks Lauren for another good post as usual!

    1. Hi Sandra!
      Thanks for reading and commenting! Sometimes you definitely have to agree to disagree and walk away from arguments. It’s not good to keep continuing it online.
      Thanks for the compliment :]

  2. Hey Lauren, thanks for the quote! I think the thing to remember is that everyone watching the argument/debate/exchange might not understand what prompted it or happened before they arrived. So if Person A is being a jerk to Person B and Person B is ignoring it until they finally lash back, if the first thing I see is Person B lashing back, guess what? I am probably going to think Person B is the jerk, not Person A.
    All of these exchanges make up our online reputation. Sometimes it’s good to remember which battles are worth fighting, and which ones you should walk away from.

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