Rants aren’t anything new on social media. Some may say it’s a good avenue to blow off steam, especially when you feel like there’s nowhere else to place or channel your emotions. Not to mention the act may seem like an especially tempting solution as of the moment, considering the current pandemic is keeping everyone trapped in their homes, alone with their thoughts, and glued to their phones.
Unfortunately, doing so may just as quickly backfire on you the moment your thoughts reach a wider audience.
While it’s true that everyone reserves the right to post whatever they want on their own personal social media pages, here are a few reasons why you might want to hold back on that angry five-page essay, especially when the matter would be better off addressed within your personal circle.
It only fuels the fire
Taking our personal issues online will render our private affairs public for the whole world to see. Sure, posting about our grievances may be a way to get more people (whether we know them or not) on our side of the story— which in turn would bring us temporary relief and validation— but unfortunately not everyone will provide us with the empathy we’re reaching for. If the comments section of any celebrity issue blown out of proportion is any indication, most people would only feast on the gossip and treat it as their day’s entertainment before moving on to the next.
The internet takes receipts
What you publicly put out on the internet stays online forever. The truth of the matter is, people will save receipts of your dirty laundry especially if it somehow goes viral. What you only intended to publish on Twitter may soon find its way to Instagram or Facebook and vice versa. No one would want information on their personal affairs to spread like wildfire on social media, especially not when they calm down later on and eventually decide to delete their original post.
It could affect your future career
What’s more, the above point is especially important for young adults in search of a job. In a digital age where technology is king and the internet is undoubtedly integrated within our daily lives, our online presence and footprint now serves as our second resume. “With 73% of the world’s Internet users active in social media, 83% of Fortune 500 companies with social media accounts and 92% of recruiters using social media to find candidates it is too important not to carefully consider your actions,” writes Keith Quensberry, associate professor of marketing at Messiah College. “Social media brings together our personal, professional and working lives in a way no other medium has before. “
It may be detrimental to your health
Rants on social media serve to blow off steam. It’s a platform for users to transfer their repressed feelings onto in hopes of feeling emotionally and mentally unburdened afterwards. After all, it’s never a good idea for anyone to bottle up their emotions. Unfortunately, though ranting may temporarily lighten our load, if we get technical here, the act itself may be detrimental for our own health in the long run.
A research study titled Anger on the Internet: The Perceived Value of Rant-Sites, published in 2013, found that not only does a reader’s mood decline after reading a social meda rant, but the writer’s anger only flares as well after putting up their post. In the end, no one wins.
“People feel much freer to sound off online,” psychotherapist Shoshana Bennett, PhD told Healthline. “It’s much easier to rant without an audience looking at you in person. It’s more comfortable to unload, as you’re hidden behind a screen.” Despite acknowledging this fact, the health professional echoes the aforementioned study’s sentiment, stating that “online outbursts are never good.” Bennett explains “As a psychologist, I know how emotionally destructive it can be. I’ll bet that if measured, cortisol blood levels would be found high in the ranter. And as we are already aware, high cortisol on a regular basis can cause all kinds of physical health issues.”
With that in mind, Bennett’s advice to anyone looking for any form of emotional catharsis is to skip the online platforms altogether and turn to a trusted friend instead. “The difference is that in real time with a support person who is present, listening, and giving you feedback when desired, there can be more of a rational conversation and working through of feelings. Instead of just negatively spouting off, it can turn into something positive,” she said.