Social Networks: Are Rants Okay?

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“If I could tell the world just one thing it would be, we’re all okay…”

This is the thought I have every time someone goes off on a rant on my social networks. I hear Jewels’s song ‘Hands’ and that lyric plus, “poverty, stole your golden jewels, it didn’t steal your laughter”.

I keep thinking about the ‘issues’ that matter to each of us the most, how we’d alienate people for them. How we’d disregard peoples beliefs, morals, values, view of life for them. How we’d discredit people’s intelligence because of them. How our frame of reference is so important to us that if someone doesn’t fit into them or we can’t seem to realize that it’s okay if they don’t, because in the end the only person you’re going to give account for, be responsible for, is yourself, we lash out.

Things that really get me worked up are injustice and abuse against women and children. Those are my buttons. I care more than the average person. I’ve been part of demonstrations; I’ve spoken up, educated, etc. Still there’s one thing I’ve learned, through all of it, not everyone’s going to have the same level of passion for those issues…and that’s okay. There’s room on this planet for everyone and every cause.

I don’t label myself a feminist, a liberal, conservative, religious, etc. I have ‘issues’ with extremists. I have issues with people who force down their will on others. The human condition is a flawed one. But not irredeemable.
So this is what I do instead. I treat others the way (and sometimes even better than) I want to be treated. I aim to be gracious and extend grace. The mercy that’s shown to me every day, I strive (because it’s hard) to show to others. I work on humility and humbleness*smile* I love what Audrey Hepburn said, that you have two hands, one to help yourself and the other to help someone else.

I don’t see how constantly doing a ‘rant status update’ is helping anyone. Voicing an opinion is fine. Goodness, I do that every now and then, here on my blog and on my other networks (even now). But to constantly find something to be negative about. To have this crazy god-like complex of “Look, I love all my FB friends and I love chatting with you, but when you blah blah blah…I will unfriend you”…uh why don’t you just unfriend? Because clearly the rest of the people don’t fall into the category of people you want to unfriend, so why subject them to your rant? If you disagree so strongly, why be passive aggressive about it? Why not just inbox that person, tell them you don’t agree with them and because of that, you feel you’re no longer going to be friends with them? Or if that’s too much confrontation for you, just unfriend them and go on with your life. Trust me; you’ll be able to do that.

As an author I spend a lot of time on the internet. I need to do updates, build my platform, read up & educate myself on writing and basically keep my finger on the pulse of what’s happening in the publishing industry. So, I read this a lot‒as in every single day, by the hour, twenty-four-seven-three-sixty-five and it’s become exhausting.

No matter what the age, level of education, ethnicity, country, everyone does this. And I can’t say I’ve never ranted on social media, but what I will say is, I was probably at varsity complaining about some professor to a friend…as in a specific friend…on my social network. Only in recent years have I noticed the trend of ‘taking on’ people, corporations, institutions, etc. via social networks.

And I’m going to say this and it’s going to sound bad, and if you don’t want to hear bad, please stop reading. But social networks like FB used to be fun. As a student setting up my profile, doing stupid updates like ‘Inge is…eating” *laughs* Yeah I did that once throughout the day. (‘Inge is walking.’ ‘Inge is sleeping.’ ‘Inge is talking.’ Not that funny now.) I’d chat with my friend who’s in her room upstairs in res asking her if she’s going to the TV room because I want to go watch a horror movie. Oh and back then, EVERYONE on my FB was someone I’ve met before in real life. Someone I’ve actually spoken to; shared a handshake or met at a party/other social event. (Btw Mark Zuckerberg and I are the same age. I thought that tidbit’s relevant (*grin*)

Someone would ‘poke’ me, ‘roundhouse’ kick me, send me a quiz, do one that says ‘Out of all my friends Inge’s likely to swear’ or send me a ‘cocktail’. My friends would recommend groups and I’d recommend ones to them. It was active, social and a fun pastime. Not anymore.

I literally groan when I read the status updates and ask myself, do I really need this as an author? Can’t I do what some of my friends have done (all in their late twenties & early thirties), delete my account and go ‘off the grid’?

At this point I prefer Twitter simply because my feed’s not made up of rant, but who knows what can happen. With all the celeb feuds and ‘twitter mobs’ that lynch people because of a couple of tweets, I don’t even know if I want to hang out there , it’s probably not the lesser of these two ‘evils’.

So because I can’t tell ‘the world’ we’ll be okay, there’s no need for the rants, the negativity and disregard over social networks, I’m going to lower my weekly intake. If it, somehow, messes with my ‘platform’ than fine, I can live with the consequences. But for now, I’m a bit done and over this constant feeling of entitlement where everyone (even me sometimes) thinks we should write/say something just because we can. You and I don’t have to.
No one will miss it if we don’t. The only one a rant status update serves is oneself.

*Inge out* *peace sign*

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