Multiple times a day I find myself typing out a comment on some ill-informed, infuriating social media post only to erase it and just walk away from my phone. Topics could range from current events, to cannabis, to pet care. But wherever the post was published, it was enough to make me wish we could remove all the warning labels and let the law of natural selection do its work.
Make no mistake, social media has connected us more than ever and serves a purpose that has positive outcomes on the world. It has given everyone a voice for every topic imaginable. However, some voices are definitely louder than others.
According to Psychology Today, "The Dunning-Kruger effect is a cognitive bias in which people wrongly overestimate their knowledge or ability in a specific area."
This can occur for any topic imaginable. Nearly every niche known to man has at least one person who is a self-proclaimed expert who likes to lord their knowledge over others.
This kind of behavior leaves everyone asking why someone would act like this. Psychology Today explains, "This tendency may occur because gaining a small amount of knowledge in an area about which one was previously ignorant can make people feel as though they’re suddenly virtual experts."
While explanations vary on why an individual would act that way, we can all agree that nine times out of ten it's annoying. So how do you deal with someone like that?
My personal go-to option is to just ignore these kinds of people. Yes, that seems like the most simple and obvious solution, but we are busy adults with better things to do than argue with some stranger online. While it may be tempting, the most productive thing you can do is put your phone down and walk away.
People who assume they are experts (when in reality they know very little) thrive on attention, both positive and negative. By removing that stimulant, it takes away their 'power'. Think about a small fire. If you take away the oxygen it needs to fuel the flames, it will go out. The same theory can be applied to someone's 'suffering' from the Dunning-Kruger effect. They want a reaction, whether it be approval and praise or for someone to argue with them. By not responding, you deprive them of that attention and eventually, they stop.
It can be hard to ignore the vast amounts of idiocy that comes across our social media feeds. We naturally want to correct the misinformation, but sometimes that just fuels the fire. With certain people, the best thing to do is to walk away. Yes, this isn't the answer for every situation, but it is the answer for some. If anything else, avoiding arguing with online strangers is a great way to help keep your blood pressure low.