Rant: to speak or declaim extravagantly or violently; talk in a wild or vehement way.
I love social media. I love seeing pictures of family and friends who live far away. I love keeping in touch with folks I don’t get to see often. I love seeing where and what my friends are eating. I love the sharing of ideas and jokes, especially videos of people falling down.
One of the things I don’t like about social media is all the “ranting.” I don’t think social media made us “ranters,” but I do think social media has given us a platform for “ranting.” Just spend a few minutes on Facebook or Twitter. You’ll find rants about restaurants, athletes, businesses, celebrities, traffic, schools, churches, communities, politics, and more. You’ll also find people ranting in response to previous rants.
Admission one … Yes, I realize this post is a rant on social media, which means I’m doing exactly what I’m complaining about. I’m “ranting” about something that bothers me, and I’m ranting about the incessant ranting of others. I am fully aware of the hypocrisy within this post, and I’m totally ashamed of what this reveals about my heart.
Admission two … Yes, I am talking about myself in this post. I don’t presume to know the motives or intentions of all my social media connections. I don’t know why they write the things they write on social media. I do know myself. I know my first instinct in many situations is to hop on social media and fire off a scathing post about the situation that vexes me.
With those two admissions out of the way, here’s my real question. What do my social media rants reveal about my heart? Humbly and repentantly, I’d like to suggest that ranting on social media reveals at least six discouraging things about my heart:
- I think ranting is therapeutic. I have a tendency to believe the lie that venting all of my frustrations on social media will make me feel better about a situation. It won’t. I know this, and I struggle to remind myself of this reality when I feel the urge to vent.
- I think life should be easy. I’m just narcissistic enough to believe that my life should always be smooth sailing. I may not admit this out loud, but deep down I believe it. My frustration with mundane situations reveals that I really think life should be easy.
- I think my problems are really problems. Last week my wife and I went to see The Insanity of God. Among other things, the movie was a good reminder that most of my problems pale in comparison to the problems people deal with every single day.
- I think everyone wants to hear my opinion. I know you may not want to hear my opinion about much of anything. But my compulsive urge to vent on social media reveals that deep in my narcissistic heart I think you want to hear all my thoughts.
- I think it’s OK to say things on social media that I would never say to someone’s face. I’ve not yet mastered the art of biting my tongue on social media, but I do try to think about this when I post something. Many things I want to write on social media are things I would never say to someone in front of me. So why post it online?
- I think venting will fix the issue in front of me. All of my rants point to the fact that I really believe these lies … “If they would only do it my way, ask my advice, listen to my wisdom, defer to my judgment, or realize who I am, things would be better.” Again, this is a prideful, narcissistic lie that I have to guard against and watch for.
I guess my rant is over. Not sure it was therapeutic. Not sure this problem qualifies as a real problem. Not sure you wanted to read this in the first place. Not sure it will fix anything. However, thinking about this issue has been helpful for me. When I hop on social media I not only need to think about what I’m posting, I also need to think about why I’m posting it.
I’d love to hear your thoughts and wisdom and “rants” about social media “rants.”
Originally published September 5, 2016 on landoncoleman.com.