- Thou Shalt Defend Thy Opinion with Evidence
Explanation: If you are passionate enough to have a strong opinion about a subject, then you need to be passionate enough to offer the evidence and reasoning that convinced you and made you that passionate.
Sources/Additional Reading: A Rulebook for Arguments by Anthony Weston
- Thou Shalt Not Spread Anger & Hate
Explanation: Misery loves like-minded company. On many occasions I’ve had to ask upset people to focus on what was said and not how it was said. Oftentimes the message is lost and all people see is the anger or hate. A better strategy to get your point across is to take a few breaths and think about what you want to say rather than posting a knee-jerk, emotional response. Words matter and who knows who your words might impact. We should instead strive to “create an environment in which information can flow freely, mistakes can be highlighted, and help can be offered and received.” (Simon Sinek) If you hate someone for something they said, then perhaps it best to take advice from Abraham Lincoln, “I don’t like that man, I must get to know him better.”
Sources/Additional Reading: Multiple Works by Simon Sinek
- Thou Shalt Scroll with a Forgiving Spirit
Explanation: It’s important to remember that everyone is on different levels of their journey of life. This journey consists of a unique blend of information absorbed over their lifetime through what they’ve read, experienced, were taught, etc. You are far more likely to get people to see your viewpoints if you don’t hold grudges and always approach your posts as educational opportunities. Not just for the person you are attempting to educate, but for yourself as well! You may learn something new or that you haven’t considered. Just because someone disagrees with you does not make them a bad person. There is a lot of wisdom and humility in acknowledging you aren’t always right and there is a lot of wholesomeness associated with forgiving others for not always being right. Forgiveness does nothing to the person being forgiven, it does everything for the person that forgives. Forgiveness releases the hate and animosity surrounding your heart and allows you take that person’s influence over you away.
Sources/Additional Reading: The Traveler’s Gift by Andy Andrews
- Control What You Can Control (Including What You Scroll)
Explanation: Instead of trying to fix the world, focus your attention on fixing your world. Put your house in perfect order then strive to help your neighbors, friends, and family do the same. Then maybe your county/parish. Then maybe your state. Then maybe your country. The world? If you positively impacted the previous five categories, then you are already positively impacting the world. You can’t control events that take place, but you can control your response to those events. And in many cases that response carries more weight than the event itself. In terms of social media, you can’t totally control the algorithm that dictates what shows on your feed, but you can control who you follow, share, like, and pay attention to. I never unfriend someone who I disagree with. But if someone is consistently negative, pessimistic, and is impacting my mental well-being then I unfollow that person either temporarily or permanently. It’s easy to criticize this broadcasted world, it’s hard to get to work in making it better by starting within your sphere of influence.
Sources/Additional Reading: 12 Rules for Life by Jordan B. Peterson
- Thou Shalt Remember That Life is Short
Explanation: Social Media gives us an opportunity to show the world who we are. What are your passions? What do you love? What are your hobbies? What do you want to be remembered for? If you go back and review all your previous posts, what type of person are you showing the world? Angry? Do you post too much? Too little? Were the last 25 posts angry and venting posts on politics? If you die tomorrow and you leave this world behind, what legacy would you leave behind on your social media profile? And how much time are you on social media? There is so much more to life than our screens. Limit the amount of time you spend on social media. Find your balance.
Sources/Additional Reading: Multiple Works by Ryan Holiday
- Acknowledge That Your Life Will Go Where You Point Your Eyes
Explanation: When I was a teenager my dad and I went shopping for my first car. I decided I wanted a used Honda Civic. All of a sudden, I saw Honda Civics everywhere! What is on the top of your mind will show up and stand out more often. If you skim posts on Facebook looking for comments that disagree, upset, and trigger you. You’ll never guess what you are going to find! What you input into your brain becomes what you think about. What you think about becomes your expectations. Your expectations lead to what you create. What you create becomes your life and thus, your legacy.
Sources/Additional Reading: The Heroes Journey by Darren Hardy
- Thou Shalt Look in the Mirror and Beware Hypocrisy & Hubris
Explanation: When I was a child I came up with the phrase, “I would call you a hypocrite, but then I’d be a hypocrite.” Remember this before you spread ad hominem attacks to someone that disagrees with you. The more you post about politics the more likely you are of being hypocritical and eroding your ethos. Quality is so much better than quantity.
- Thou Shalt Prevent Slippery Slope Fallacies from Becoming Self Fulfilling Prophecies
Explanation: Our imaginations ride the dragon of slippery slope fallacies into the land of make believe when often times the truth is not as extreme and a lot more complex and nuanced. But like many things if you speak enough about something it becomes someone’s reality. If you are speaking about a slippery slope fallacy repeatedly then you are looking for that fallacy to become truth. Like mentioned in Commandment #6 pay attention to where you point your eyes. And don’t make assumptions.
Sources/Additional Reading: The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz
- Diversify Thy Network & News Sources
Explanation: Review your friend list on Facebook. Do you have a mix of races, ethnicities, religions, political affiliations, sexual orientations, professions, etc.? Review the people you follow on Twitter. Are they all like-minded individuals? If you are not getting a diverse range of people with unique characteristics and personalities, then you are creating blind spots. If everyone agrees with you then that only provides confirmation biased information. It might make you feel better, but that equates to a false sense of security. Situations are complex and it’s important to put yourself in other people’s shoes and envision the world through their eyes. If you get all of your information from one news source or multiple news sources that lean a certain way politically, then those news sources can influence your opinion and thus your action and thus who you are.
Sources/Additional Reading: Think Again by Adam Grant
- Thou Shalt Listen to and Trust Subject Matter Experts
Explanation: Often, we give our two cents about a subject and cite certain pieces of information that confirm our opinion rather than what is actually the truth. If I wanted to know more about wetlands biology, I would reach out to my friend who is a wetlands biologist. Accounting? I would reach out to an accountant. But every subject can be dived into so deep that you can get lost, so we have to trust experts. Many of the brightest people in certain areas are silent because they are afraid to take the step out into the spotlight. We have become so visceral. We can verify the information against other sources, but that one person on YouTube doesn’t stand up to a professional who studied for years in college, obtained a master’s degree, conducted study after study, and peer review after peer review. If professionals have differing stances on something; rather than picking a side that fits with your preferred narrative, accept that the issue is complicated. Most things aren’t simple like our brains desire.
Sources/Additional Reading: The Social Dilemma on Netflix
I. Thou Shalt Defend Thy Opinion with Evidence
II. Thou Shalt Not Spread Anger & Hate
III. Thou Shalt Scroll with a Forgiving Spirit
IV. Control What You Can Control (Including What You Scroll)
V. Thou Shalt Remember That Life is Short
VI. Acknowledge That Your Life Will Go Where You Point Your Eyes
VII. Thou Shalt Look In the Mirror and Beware Hypocrisy & Hubris
VIII. Thou Shalt Prevent Slippery Slope Fallacies from Becoming Self Fulfilling Prophecies
IX. Diversify Your Network & News Sources
X. Thou Shalt Listen to and Trust Subject Matter Experts
-Bradley C. Bertoniere