A Teen Speaks: ‘Keyboard Warriors’ and How to Deal With Them

Keyboard warriors. They seem to be everywhere these days: on Facebook and Twitter, and Instagram and Tumblr from screenshots from Facebook and Twitter. Anyone can be tough when a computer screen and however many kilometers it is between them and the person they’re attacking protects them. And sure, it might get you a few views, a few likes even and you’ll be the center of attention for about five seconds, but is that really what you want to be known as? A keyboard warrior? With the stigma attached to this term in modern times, I would think not.

There are two types of keyboard warriors: those who start or join fights randomly, simply seeking attention, and those who are addressing real-life tension or conflict because they do not have the courage to do so face-to-face. Neither is right or respectable. In fact, none of the whole online fighting sits right with me (#facebookfights, #popcorn, just no). Don’t get me wrong; I too am unable to keep scrolling down my newsfeed when I see a thread with 100+ comments (an almost guaranteed sign of a Facebook fight), even if I’m not even interested in what those people have to say. Which in a perfect world is also wrong, because why would I have anybody as a “friend” who wasn’t truly a friend and of interest to me? And yes, I have before sat and read all 162 comments of an argument, before finally getting to the bottom and realizing I’ll never get the last eight and half minutes of my life back. But moving on.

My point is a “keyboard warrior” is someone who, emboldened by the security of their bedroom/loungeroom/safe place away from harm, feels the need to post generally unnecessary negative rubbish on social media when they would never say such things to someone’s face. And that last bit, my friends, is one of my pet hates. Technology has made it so easy for people to avoid all conflict and awkward situations. One must only get through a face-to-face encounter civilly, for if you have anything slightly unsettling or annoying or confronting to say, it can always be done afterwards via text message or inbox or tweet, if that’s your style. The same goes for flirty boys who text message you fifty times a day, but when you pass them in the street they can’t even manage a hello. Seriously, grow a set or stop wasting my time. What do you think I’m going to do? Bite your head off, or worse, not say hello back? Oh, the humiliation.

What I’m talking about here is the second type of keyboard warrior: the people who use social media as a platform to address real issues and conflict, when it would be much more effective to resolve it privately and in person. We don’t all need to hear about your problems. More to the point, why do you want everyone there sitting on the edge of his or her seat reveling at your discomfort, or what would be discomfort if the same conversation were taking place face-to-face?

The first type of keyboard warrior is just as annoying, if not more so, than the latter due to the fact that they fight online simply because they gain pleasure from it and the attention, despite it being negative (if this sounds like you, please get a life). Want the solution? The foolproof way of beating these keyboard warriors and saving yourselves from their irritating and time-wasting wrath? Turn it off! Yes, you heard correctly. I know it’s a shock but your computer/phone/iPod actually has an off button which means you don’t have to sit there enduring the endless, pointless, ridiculous comments of a keyboard warrior. Or just close your social media if you still need to use your device. One of the two. For repeat offenders of online fighting, use your block and delete buttons. That’s what they are there for. It’s not healthy for anyone to be either involved in or viewing these kinds of time-wasting posts. If you’re sick of seeing them or are the victim of online attacks, block the other person. It’s that easy. One less friend is one less person encouraging their attention-seeking ways, benefiting both you and your keyboard warrior with the unhealthy attention-seeking habit. And next time you have an issue or something confronting to say to someone, do yourself a favor and say it to their face. I promise it will be more effective, even if the method is like, so ancient.

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