There it was. Right in front of me. All it would take is one click. One tap. One flick of the finger and off it would go, sailing into the great electronic beyond and do exactly what it was intended to do.

Smack someone right in the intellectual face with a response guaranteed to elicit a return shot. And then another. And another. And likely more than a few lingering issues focusing on hurt feelings and the beginning of an argument with no end in human sight.

It’s become the lessons I’ve learned, and you need to learn from places such as Facebook, Twitter, comment pages on websites, and any of the other gatherings of social media muck we’ve all become mired in.

Want to guarantee no hard feelings? No ridiculously long and never ending discourses? No rising anger in your own soul? NO CHANCE at “saying” something that will be noticed, copied and spread by someone down the line that could cost you a reputation and your job or career?

Then don’t write it.

See how simple that was?

Social media, just like those now neanderthal-era bar debates we used to become tangled in, are voluntary exercises. We don’t need them to breathe, exist, live better or become more successful. We have plenty of avenues elsewhere to do just that. These are places and spaces where we are not being forced to do anything.

ANYTHING. It’s all our own choice.

My reaction today was at a comment made by someone on a thread where, to be honest, all they were doing was baiting me. Hey, I’ve been doing this media thing for a lot longer than most and I can tell when I’m being hosed. Over the years, it’s come from the lips, keyboards, pens, pencils and crayons of those a Hell of a lot smarter than what passes for “knowledge” along social media. But despite knowing it’s there, confronting it, even I have that human urge to get in the mix.

“I’ll show him a thing or two dammit”.

Yeah, no. I won’t.

There it was, all written out, filled to the brim with facts, personal experience, intelligence and more than a little snap back. All I had to do was smack that “RETURN” key and it was off to the argumentative races.

Delete. Erased it several times just to be certain I wouldn’t make a gaffe.

The person on the other end is likely thinking, “Well, I showed Berliner a thing or two about THAT!”. Probably pretty proud of himself that he got the best of me.

He didn’t, of course. I just chose to walk away. Been doing that a lot lately on social media. Oh, don’t get me wrong. There are still a number of issues and comments I’ll call out as being just this side of biblical proportion nonsense or idiocy.

Sometime, though, you just have to pull it all back. Rein it in.

CHOOSE not to be part of the never ending, mind-numbing, career and friendship ending nonsense on social media.

It’s cathartic, in many ways. Satisfying in so many others. For me, after doing it, I walk away from anything social media for a few hours.

Like bathing in magic waters.

Try it. Spend the time and your brain electricity for things more important.

In the case of many social media arguments, that would be just about everything.

So come for the Michael Jackson eating popcorn meme. Leave the knee-jerking to someone else.

This is the core of “Mastering the Media”, the part about using social media to your advantage. About not allowing yourself to be suckered in and made a fool of.

You’re either the fool, or someone who lives right on the edge of becoming the fool if you allow yourself to be drawn in.

Be part of the solution, not a core of the problem.

All better.