In recent times, the internet has not been short of keyboard warriors who take things to social media to rant. Not forgetting to add ‘siapa makan cili, dia rasa pedas’ caption, indicating there’s someone out there that this specific rant is about, in hopes it reaches them. However, what seems like a harmless behaviour that is only done to release the pressure and anger one feels in regards to their experiences, many are overlooking the long term damages it’s causing. If you’re one of the keyboard warriors who is tempted to take everything unpleasant to the internet, this article is for you.
Before diving into why venting online is detrimental, let’s try to understand why it’s incredibly prevalent. Social media is immediately effective and the easiest to communicate things. Imagine yourself being fuelled with extreme anger desperately wanting an outlet of some form to make yourself feel better and there’s your Facebook. It’s easy to write whatever you want, as long as you want, without ever mentioning who you’re even talking about which will take seconds to reach your Facebook friends who are going to swarm in commenting with sympathy towards the injustice you have faced and how sorry they feel towards you. Their warm comments validate whatever you’re feeling which also gives you the feeling of being understood and this will be followed by a much more relaxed feeling. Sounds familiar? But as amazing as the relaxed feeling is, it is only temporary; short-term. Here’s why this isn’t a good idea.
Because it lets you get away from doing the hard work
There’s always a source for most of our problems. And when there are rants secretly directed at someone, the chances are that we have a misunderstanding with another party or we are bothered by something they have done or said. When we opt to take things to social media every time we deal with something similar, we are actively moving away from doing the work needed to develop ourselves into more mature people. By this, I mean, we’re actively avoiding confrontations and speaking our minds to the respective parties involved which might lead to more understanding and solving the problem.
For instance, the last time I was incredibly angry at my groupmate for contributing almost nothing to our group assignment, I could have easily posted a status calling out his irresponsible behaviour indirectly in the hopes that he might see it. However, there is always a possibility for him to not come across it at all or for others who do see my status to misinterpret that I’m talking about someone else. Plus, honestly, this would have not solved anything either. Instead, I sent him a long text about how disappointed I felt about his behaviour, and how it personally affected me by increasing my workload. At the same time, I noticed how I was much more mindful about the words I was using and I was actively working to incorporate empathy into what I was trying to convey because I knew that I was directing my words at a real person who has feelings and emotions and might have had his reasons to have behaved how he did. I told him I’m trying to understand why he’d do that and if there’s any problem he’s facing, he could share it with me. Although I never got a reply from him to this day, I’m incredibly proud of how mature I was as a person and brave to speak my mind to others.
Thus, the next time you feel the need to vent online, ask yourself if there are better options to navigate through the issue or even better, solve it.
The damage cannot be undone
We are living in a digital world, meaning everything you put up on social media leaves a digital footprint. We all know how many screenshots are passed around. The chances are when you’re infuriated, you are seeing and evaluating everything based on your emotions instead of objectivity. It increasing the possibility of you being harsh and using unpleasant words. And when things become much clearer to you or you understand how you might have been at fault at times as time passes, it might have been too late to remove the post or a story after the number of people who have seen it already. Imagine how emotionally damaging it could have been to someone you directed this to and not forgetting all of your followers’ comments that bashed the other person while supporting your stance. You will wish you can take things back but the truth is you can’t. Ergo, be mindful when you’re angry and remind yourself that you might not be seeing things objectively but rather clouded by emotions. Take your time to calm down before you make impulsive decisions like posting a status bashing someone.
Because your online friends do not hold you accountable
Venting is indeed helpful, given it is done to the right parties such as a group of friends who you trust and feel safe pouring the contents of your mind. The best part of this is that your friends will hold you accountable if you’re at fault and won’t sugarcoat things to you. However, when it’s done online, as much as the wave of support you receive from your social media followers and friends validates your viewpoint and opinions, they might not accurately represent the reality. There are always two sides to the story and your social media friends will only vaguely know your side and support and advice you based on that. However, when it’s vented out to a friend or family, it sparks a back and forth conversation that gives them a clearer picture of your real situation. This helps them support you in the right way when you are indeed right or provide you constructive criticisms and hold you accountable for your negative actions if you were to be wrong.
It is important to be acknowledged here that venting online does have its upsides such as creating awareness and courageously being vulnerable while inspiring others to do the same. For instance, when one vent about their struggle with mental illnesses or when they rant about how they were discriminated against because of their race or gender. Such rants when done mindfully and maturely spark important conversations. There is a fine line between beneficial rants and rants that is secretly being destructive to yourself. Thus, always be aware of what you put out in the open and if that’s the best way to go about it.
Jananie Chandrarao is a content writer under Headliner by Newswav, a programme where content creators get to tell their unique stories through articles and at the same time monetize their content within the Newswav app.
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