Monday, 31 March 2014

How to argue on Twitter

One of the great things about Twitter is that its hard to predict what's going to happen. Something odd pops up & piques your interest, you ask an innocent question and the whole thing explodes into a massive argument that soaks up way more time than you bargained on. Or maybe that's just me. 

Anyway, having ended up in a few of these I've decided to compile this handy guide to arguing in 140 character chunks.  

1. Write...essays
Rules are for breaking, and the 140 character one is your first target. Start a nice long argument off & then just put these little dots...

...around the chunks of your text. Be sure to save the main points to last. This way you can keep raving for ages, and no-one else can...

...take the risk of responding because they can't tell where its all heading. Plus you get to drop little nuggets along the way for later...

2. When in trouble, divert
If you realise mid-argument that you've made a mistake, you need a way to cover your arse without admitting it. Diversion is that way. Plot a course to a new safer ground and then start off in that direction. 

But how? Well, you could use the essay trick. Course changes half-way through an essay are a great option. Make the necessary admissions as part of a bigger package that re-steers the argument. If it gets spotted you can "but I already said that" them, which makes them look thick.

3. Reframe disingenuously
This is another diversionary tactic. The idea is to find questions that make the other person look like a dick. Frame up their position in the most absurd way and then ask the obvious question. For example, if they're arguing against cat control try assuming they're promoting human-cat marriage. If they're arguing for cat control, why not assume they're also in favour of euthanasia in general?

4. Persevere
Arguments only end when someone stops - that person is the loser.  This is why #3 works. It forces your adversary into a whole other line of thinking and provided you keep going it gives you a reputation for tenacity. This makes it more likely the other person will start to doubt the wisdom of continuing, which of course increases your odds of winning.

5. The late bomb
Save up some substantial ammunition (preferably a link that'll take a while to digest), then go silent and wait for your adversary to blow themselves out. Don't drop the bomb until you're confident they are in self-congratulation mode.  

There must be others, but that's my lot for now.

1 comment:

  1. Pick on some obscure point the other person has made and make everything in the discussion about that, regardless.

    Remember, getting in the last word is VITAL if you're to claim victory so keep responding long after the topic has been exhausted.