Picture the following scenario: You posted another opinion online and it turned out to be a stinker. Your post got lots of engagement, but it was mostly people dunking on you. Fox News hosts contact you to offer you time on-air to defend your views. You announce you’re going to take another social media break until the hype dies down. Well, I’m here to show you how to break this cycle. I’m going to teach you how to not post bad opinions online.
I am known as someone who only posts good opinions. See my rant about how review scores suck or my magnum opus about why Waluigi needs a dating sim for examples. I have bad opinions just like you, but I know how to not post them.
I’ll admit up front this won’t be easy. Social media and click-bait blogs are practically built on bad opinions. There are many incentives to sharing them, such as high post engagement and views, which may increase ad revenue on your website. I suppose there are benefits for social media users too. Many seem to think these benefits outweigh the drawback of regularly being mocked. I disagree.
I think we would be better off with fewer quickly written, poorly considered viewpoints expressed online. Instead, let’s only share opinions that have been informed by careful thought, real experience, and demonstrable facts.
Clearly this post is tongue in cheek, but hey, share it with people you see posting bad opinions online and maybe they’ll end up taking some of my advice.
Anyway, here are a few techniques I find helpful when I have an uninformed take that I feel compelled to post online.
Share your opinions privately with your friends and gauge their reactions
Friends are your best resource when wondering how to not post bad opinions online. Good friends hold you accountable. They let you know when you have done or said something ridiculous. Why not harness that power proactively by seeking out their advice on your opinion? They will likely tell you if it sucks.
Your friends might even know about information that could help you form a better opinion. They might know of experts whose views you could retweet or share to save you the hassle of having to write something out.
Even if your friends don’t have resources to share, their reactions will probably be a good gauge of how the public will react. If they are disgusted by your viewpoint, I would advise against sharing it further.
Be careful though: This technique could backfire if all your friends are as uninformed as you are. If that’s the case, you should do your research and seek out different viewpoints. You should be doing that anyway, long before you start bouncing ideas off people. It’s even my next piece of advice.
Conduct some research on the topic
Informed opinions are based on facts and experience. Conduct some research to see if your opinion has a basis in reality. If the facts suggest your ideas are incorrect, don’t share those ideas online.
I also encourage you to seek out opinions that are contrary to your own. People can reach different conclusions by considering the same facts and data. It’s never a bad idea to consider how other people think before sharing how you think.
Even if your opinion is subjective, it might be a good idea to do some research first. That’s especially true if your take is on a topic you aren’t familiar with. MBMBaM co-host Justin McElroy found that out the hard way. He recently went off about how he thought the word “mukbang” sounded gross. To his Korean listeners, it was insulting to hear him call routine sounds from their language “gross”. He quickly apologized on Twitter.
I doubt he intended to insult Korean people and their language, but he could have avoided doing so by conducting a little research first.
Wait 24 hours to see if your hot take has cooled off
This advice is especially relevant if you formed your opinion in response to breaking news or a trending topic. Take some time to think about your viewpoint before saying anything. We all form some of our worst opinions immediately in response to events. Ideas, like wine, change in character with time and can become better. Or they become nasty acidic vinegar.
Additionally, the fast-paced culture of social media can put pressure on us to share our views quickly, which creates a different level of stress. It makes us feel like we need to be among the first people to make sense of this situation. When you’re racing to get an opinion out, you cannot possibly give it the careful consideration it deserves.
You might be thinking about negative examples, but let’s consider a positive one. You just watched a movie and were blown away. As the credits roll you think, “that was the best film I have ever seen”. But is it really? Sleep on it and make a post the next day about the elements of the film that are still on your mind. If you highlight a specific scene or a quality of the movie, that’s going to be a lot more powerful and persuasive than your hyperbolic best-movie-ever reaction.
I chose 24 hours arbitrarily, but I at least recommend waiting until the next day. Sleeping on the situation forces you to process some of your emotions. It also lets you start your post with something like “I’ve been thinking about …”, which makes you seem like you have been thinking about the topic you are discussing.
How to not post bad opinions online easy mode: Share someone else’s opinion
This one is more of a technicality. If I really can’t persuade you to not post your opinion, why not just find someone else who has expressed it online and share their post?
Really, I’m trying to trick you into conducting research you neglected to conduct in response to point two. Instead of researching the topic, you’re looking into the credentials of the person sharing the opinion. Are they some nobody or are they respected in the topic they’re discussing? Do they have experience in this topic or are they just assuming?
If you can’t find anyone scrupulous sharing a similar opinion to yours, that’s a red flag. Seek out experts and people speaking with authority to see what they have to say.
Now you know how to not post bad opinions online
These are just some of the techniques I turn to when I am trying to figure out how to not post bad opinions online. Will power and shame are other tools in my arsenal, but I will save those for another day.
What’s your worst opinion? Ignore my advice and post it in the comments below.