Things can snowball online. What starts as a conversation often turns into people trying to yell over each other through their keyboards, typically in all caps.
But the dialogue after a Snap from some North Dakota State University students turned out different.
The photo (which is above, but edited to obscure the faces) was originally shared by Twitter user Thankful Bara, who identifies herself as an NDSU student.
"It was brought to my attention that these girls go to NDSU. Give me their @s I just wanna talk :)" she wrote.
What followed was a measured back and forth – something of an actual dialogue, not just the standard Twitter bashing.
One of the women identified as being in the photo tweeted a reply publicly, saying they had put on face masks and didn't think about "the impact our words would make."
"It was nor our intention for this photo to slander anyone in anyway. It was immature of us to write the caption we did," the response reads.
And that apparently meant a lot to Thankful Bara.
"Thank you! I hope you can understand why that was problematic and could be offensive to some people, especially if they didn’t know your true intentions," she wrote back.
The 'right' way to handle it
This happens frequently now. A racially insensitive photo or video gets Snapped, then it gets screengrabbed and amplified outward as a way to show the behavior isn't OK.
Last fall at the University of North Dakota, two Snaps became huge news: one with the caption "Locked the black b---h out," another with women in face masks with the phrase "Black lives matter" attached. (UND ultimately found they were free speech – though still "inexcusable.")
So: What's the "right" way to handle it?
One person responded to the recent NDSU photo and said social media was maybe an "inappropriate" way to address it, and that it should have been discussed with the women in person before they were "slandered."
But another pointed out Thankful Bara was actually able to connect with and find the women through Twitter, so they could talk about it.
A spokesperson with NDSU told Valley New Lives the school hasn't gotten an official complaint but is looking into it.