You’ve seen it. Someone is upset and they use the internet to “air out” their frustrations with someone else. College students complain about roommates. Individuals air the family’s dirty laundry on Facebook, seeking to shame each other. Ex’s use Instagram to denigrate the person who was once loved. Let’s not even start with how bad this has gotten in political posts.
I’m not sure when the shift began, but more and more people are using social media to vent their anger, frustrations, and disappointments with others. Why? What is the point? Do the people engaged in online bashing hope to gain sympathy from others or are they attempting to bring shame and guilt to the alleged perpetrator — or maybe it’s a combination of the two.
I have to say, when I see this, rarely do I feel compassion or empathy for the person who has been “wronged,” nor do I feel outrage at the accused. Instead, I often feel disappointed in the person who is posting derogatory comments about another person.
Slander is slander, and gossip is gossip — whether in person or on social media. The scriptures compel us to go to the person we have a problem with and talk it out with them. If they refuse to listen, we are to take someone with us to talk to them. I wonder how many people who are lambasting others online have bothered to talk to the person with whom they are angry.
As I read people “venting” online, many of them do so because of unmet expectations. My husband often reminds me that expectations are premeditated resentments. We have to be careful not to expect others to read our minds, to know what to do, or even to do what is right. We can only control our actions, and not that of others. When others disappoint us, pointing it out to the world via social media may bring cause them pain, but it also smears our own reputation.
Now, as a disclaimer, I’m not writing this in response to any particular post, lest you think I am being passive aggressive and lashing out in my own subversive way. I’ve just noticed an increase in cyberbullying from adults. We talk about how this is wrong for our youth, but what exactly are we teaching them through our own social media posts?
If this post describes your past posts, I pray you will feel conviction and not condemnation or judgment. I pray that you will think twice before posting negative comments or posts about others. I admit, there have been numerous times when I was tempted to respond to posts with a tongue lashing of my own but I am doing my best to refrain.
The world of social media is a tangled web, but we can do our part to keep it classy.