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Opening Arguments

I'm right, so just shut up!

As a lifelong mouth-shooter-offer, I'm torn between the idea that this so-called study is worthless crap and the fear that it is further proof that the online experience is turning the world upside-down:

Being confident and loud is the best way to win an argument - even if you are wrong, a new study suggests.

Researchers from Washington State University drew this conclusion after studying the activity of Twitter users. The more opinionated they were, the more influential and trustworthy they were perceived to be.

They analysed more than a billion tweets posted during various American sporting events, including the 2013 Super Bowl, to the test whether being accurate or being confident made Twitter users more popular. 

Despite professional pundits and amateur fans making a similar amount of correct and incorrect predictions, the tweeters who 'yelled' louder were seen as more trustworthy and had morefollowers.

I've always subscribed to the notion that logic and evidence are what close the deal in debates. Being the one to yell the loudest doesn't win you anything, it just makes other people get tired of arguing with you. They walk away, and you feel an undeserved sense of victory.

But I've been online for something like eight years now, and I understand that it's different out here. It seems to lend itself to harsher rhetoric, and I often find myself asserting things in a strident tone approaching nastiness that I have never used in editorials for the print product. If harsh clashes with harsher, of course harsher wins. And the succinctness required for a 140-character tweet almost demands certitude from the tweeters.