Is Social Media Your Venting Outlet?
Venting on social media is an increasingly common phenomenon, from talking about daily mishaps, emotional issues, to picking out certain people or brands. Such posts shouldn’t come to us social media users as unfamiliar. In fact, we too may have been the ones behind these posts.
Sure, venting on social media is quick and convenient. We can choose to release our frustrations towards a known, or maybe unknown group of people. Our words and feelings may be validated by an audience, and just the thought of having someone out there who’s aware of how we feel may help ease the pain or bitterness. However, this seemingly ‘normal’ act may sometimes bring negative consequences if we look at things from a different point of view.
1. Others’ reactions may make you feel worse
We as humans vent for a reason, either for relief, to feel heard or cared for, to seek advice, to gain validation… Ultimately, what proves best would be positive feedback—agreement, support, and empathy. However, in the real world, people often have contrasting opinions. Posting about a sensitive or divisive topic may result in forceful opposition from individuals who strongly stand with the opposite view. If these people act rashly or are, as some say, ‘triggered’, they are likely to leave mean comments or messages. They may even throw some insults or start a fight! Such a response is surely only going to add to your frustration and make you feel worse than you already do about the situation.
For personal experiences, some may disapprove of the way you think or react to certain things. This could make you feel more wrong when you’re really just seeking validation for your feelings or reaction or simply someone to empathize with you.
On the other hand, instead of receiving negative reactions, you may receive no reaction at all. Now, some of you may prefer it this way. You are simply looking for an outlet to express your emotions, and you have no intention of garnering any sort of feedback. However, it may feel even worse when you are in fact looking for something, or just someone to reach out to you.
If you’re just looking to get your feelings out, consider writing about it in a journal, diary, or digital notebook. This is a much better alternative to online venting. If you need someone to hear you out, perhaps confiding in a trusted friend is a better option too! It’s important to recognize people who are good listeners, and those who are honest and trustworthy, who would give you solid advice and are not afraid to tell you if you are the one crossing the line or in the wrong.
2. It is too quick and easy, and may result in regrets
It’s not abnormal for a vent post or story to be taken down within hours, or even minutes of posting it. This is because most of the time—though not all the time—venting on social media is a rash decision. We could be very emotional and tense when venting on social media. After calming down and having more time to think about the situation, you may realize that there was no need to lash out or speak in the way that you did. Your words may have been fueled by strong personal feelings rather than rational thinking. When this point of realization hits, you may feel embarrassed or ashamed about what you’ve posted, hence deleting it. The damage, however, may have already been done (towards a certain subject, person or not, directly or indirectly).
Venting on social media is also much easier than speaking to someone in real life, hence many of us jump onto it. It’s comfortable and convenient, plus we get to hide behind a screen! Sometimes the things we post on social media are not exactly what we would say or how we would act in person. It may be because it’s easy to dissociate from real life once we log onto the platform. Next time, it wouldn’t hurt to think twice, or even thrice before clicking that ‘post’ button on your next rant.
3. When targeted at a person, it may hurt your relationship
No one likes having the dirty bits of their lives plastered up on the web for all to see. When venting about a particular person—who they are, what they did, what they didn’t do, what they should’ve done—we may very well be hurting them by invading their privacy or crossing their boundaries. They may feel betrayed. Instead of solving a matter privately, we have taken it online to be scrutinized by the public.
Moreover, when involving outsiders (although sometimes a third party’s opinion is valuable), the situation can be made more complicated. People may take sides, support you, criticize you, or give unsolicited advice. This may not always be of any help. Such problems between two people, or even a group of people, should be solved through communication between those involved. Occasionally, you can seek help or advice from other trusted individuals who can be held accountable.
Moreover, this may make others wary of us as they see that we are capable of exposing things related to them as well. This would make us seem untrustworthy, unstable, and rash. I’m sure is an image none of us would want to uphold.
Venting on social media is not always bad. Sometimes, we may use our experiences to advocate for or raise awareness about ongoing social issues. This is important and useful. However, there is also a downside to venting online when such vents talk about our personal relationships, our own emotional issues, or targeted at a certain individual and intended for hate. All actions have consequences. Doing things on social media may feel ‘safer’ and less confrontational. This doesn’t dampen the effects, though!
Next time, consider the implications of your words before simply hitting ‘post’. Let’s not add to the negativity already flooding the online world.