EACH MORNING, I SIP MY CAFE BUSTELO and read my email. There is usually at least one from Quora pertaining to topics that me—primarily current events and politics. Perusing the questions, answers, cartoons, and memes, I hope to learn something new. Occasionally, I even attempt to politely interact with those I disagree with!
Unfortunately, once a source of intelligent back-and-forth conversation, Quora’s better days are behind it. Along with other issues—such as a program Quora started that rewarded users for submitting questions by quantity instead of quality—it has been inundated with rightwinged readers who post factually erroneous, inflammatory “questions” and memes, all in a pathetic attempt to own themselves a Lib.
Few are clever enough to inspire any kind of response, but once in a while I do feel a call to arms. The chart below was such a call:
Politely interact online
The intention of the person who posted the Most Unfollowed Twitter Accounts (MUTA) graph is unclear but many of the comments seem to be some kind of rightwing glee about the potential collapse of Hollywood (“The entire hollywood is crumbling its lovely to see. Go woke go broke!”) and an anti-infatuation with celebrity (“Celebs are not that interesting or important”).
One person did ask some pertinent questions (“Are these numbers even accurate? What am I supposed to take away from this?”) but, so far, no one has bothered to respond to them.
Me? I don’t know if the MUTA figures are accurate.
I don’t know why the individuals on the MUTA graph (most of them celebrities with a liberal bent) were chosen.
I don’t know which year let alone which thirty-day period are being referenced on the MUTA graph.
It doesn’t matter.
So, I accepted the MUTA figures at face value. Rather than engage in any kind of argument with anyone on the page, using the first two example—Justin Bieber lost 222,000 followers while Barack Obama lost 201,000—I posted this remark:
“Apparently, Obama has 131,000,000 followers on his Twitter account, Bieber has 111,000,000. I’ll let someone else do the math and figure out what itsy bitsy, teenie weenie fraction of a percent the ‘unfollowed’ numbers above represent.”
It was accompanied by a link to “Top 100 Most Followed Twitter Accounts (Sorted by Followers Count)” on the Social Blade website.
In context of the enormity of each man’s following, the MUTA numbers are infinitesimally small: a fraction of one percent. Heck, Obama and Beiber could lose or gain that many followers in an hour!
You should be able to follow further comments by clicking here. (So far, no one has commented on my comment.)
It works on most social media
I adopted this non-combatant style a few years ago when I realized that any direct verbal response that offered any kind of criticism of the poster’s “facts” just sparked an angry retort. This included calling me vulgar names or threatening some kind of fantasy-based violence—always by those masked by anonymity.
By simply asking simple and obvious questions, or posting a link to an article that completely demolishes the rightwinger’s “alternative facts,” I get the satisfaction of presenting some rebuttal to the inanity. Oddly, I rarely get any kind of response challenging my comment.
I also try ironic humor but it often doesn’t work. There appear to be at least two reasons for this:
Oh, well . . .
FEATURED IMAGE: The photo at the top of this page was cropped from this recent photo of Writers Guild members on strike. I found this photo accompanying the article “Hollywood on Strike 2023: What Happens Next?” by Anna Helho on the Nerdwallet website.