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Arguing online is like wearing a sharkskin vest. You look like a jerk. Try responding in 140 characters without over-simplifying your point and turning into a parody of yourself. Twitter doesn’t have to be a playground of mutual affirmation, but its constraints make it hard to find common ground when you don’t agree. Abandon Twitter as a form of social validation. Being selective with whom you reply to reduces the likelihood of escalating the debate to the point of no return. The Internet may be a place to share things with friends but don’t drag them into your fights. Even if they agree with you, they aren’t obliged to chip in. In some ways, the only way to win a Twitter argument is to go to another medium—do a blog post. — As told to Jennifer Daniel