A recent NBC News poll showed that 66% of adults log into some form of social media every day. I suspect that, if asked, 100% of that 66% would acknowledge seeing at least one post every day that draws their ire.

Social media can be a wonderful place for people to share their life, but it can also be a place for them to share their opinions—some of which may not align with yours. When you come upon posts of this nature, how do you respond?

With little discernment, many snap back with a reply contesting the poster’s outrageousness.

I often find the outrageousness of those replies to be more outrageous than the original post. I wonder if the respondents knew that they were not required to comment. They could have chosen to simply keep scrolling.

Social media is designed to make the outrageous contagious. Algorithms reward posts that show a potential for engagement. Posts that demonstrate what the Pew Research Center calls “indignant disagreement” receive nearly twice as much engagement as other types of content.

In other words, instigation is rewarded with attention.

I’ve written about the need for good teammates to confront toxic behaviors that threaten their teams’ cultures on several previous occasions. And it’s true, good teammates do need to possess the courage to confront toxic behaviors. But they must also possess the knowledge that choosing to not engage can be an effective confrontation strategy.

By hastily snapping back at posts that draw your ire, you risk fanning the flames and breathing life into something that would have otherwise died from an absence of attention.

In social media, your reply triggers the networks’ algorithm and causes the post to be seen by more users. In the real world, engaging someone’s inflammatory remarks can trigger gossip, unwanted attention, and drama—problems that can derail teams.

Good teammates avoid turning the petty into the profound by considering the possible outcomes of their response before they reply.

If I snap back, will my reply provide the instigator a platform that he or she may not currently have?

Will my response amplify the instigator’s influence over others?

Will my response change the instigator’s way of thinking?

Is changing the instigator’s way of thinking—on this particular issue—necessary for the success of our team?

A little bit of consideration usually leads to the decision that the best option is to keep scrolling. The metaphorical swipe of a finger reduces team drama and turns Keep Scrolling Teammates into invaluable team assets.

Sometimes, being a good teammate means having the courage to confront and the wisdom to realize the best way to confront might be to not engage (i.e., just keep scrolling.).

As always…Good teammates care. Good teammates share. Good teammates listen. Go be a good teammate.

Lance Loya is the founder and CEO of the Good Teammate Factory. He is a college basketball coach turned author, blogger, and professional speaker, who inspires TEAMBUSTERS to become TEAMMATES. You can follow him on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, or through his weekly Teammate Tuesday blog.

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