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The Internet, The Age Of Outrage & Perspective Lost. [ponder-rant]

Okay, I admit. This is me posting my thoughts on my blog in my little piece of the internet and no one has to agree with me. Hell, you may totally disagree with me and you may decide you want to tell me so. That’s totally fine. Feel free. Open up a can of proverbial whoop ass all over me and tell me where you think I’m wrong. I’m a big girl, I can take it.

But let me ask you this, and answer honestly…

If you disagree with me, will you be content with simply thinking it? Or maybe commenting here and leaving it at that? Or will you, like most of online humanity these days, not only disagree with me, but then broadcast on Twitter or FB that you disagree with me – and then add thoughts and considerations about my motives, my sex life (or lack there of) or my level of intelligence.

Seriously. I’m asking. Pause a second and think about that. Do you, have you, or will you do that this week? This month? And, if so, about how many things?

If you look at the last week and the things people have raged about online, it spans the gamut. The Aurora shooting, Chik-Fil-A, TDKR spoilers/negative reviews, geek girl poseurs/booth babes and what constitutes what, Obamacare, Bane Capital, and more I’m forgetting now.

That’s a lot of different things involving a lot of different people with a lot of different opinions.

But one things was the same.

The outrage.

I’ve said before; if everything’s a big deal, then nothing’s a big deal.

The more I find myself feeling pissed off about something on the Internet, the more I realize I’m in a bad mood, or cranky, or edgy, or just plain “over” it. And, when I look at it honestly, a lot of that is self generated. Because I keep putting myself back in the loop of being angry about something and then, in a need to say something about it, share it and bitch about it.

What I thought about today was this — it’s not enough that we disagree with something. In this day and age, we not only need to disagree, but do so vociferously and then broadcast that disagreement and get others to disagree right along with us.

Maybe it’s an outgrowth of the whole social channel dynamic. You get so used to talking about things, that you talk about everything and it all matters. Whether it’s the cereal you ate for breakfast or your gut deep belief that gays shouldn’t get married, you want to broadcast it out and get a response. Because a response means something.

And before you say it doesn’t, ask yourself if you feel differently when a post or tweet you make gets responses as opposed to one that doesn’t. I know I’ve had it happen, about some seriously stupid content. ::grin:: I’m human. I crave validation.

But maybe it’s time to decide that, while we may need that validation, maybe we need to be a bit more willing to just disagree with certain things quietly and save the real outrage for the big stuff. The stuff that makes a difference in a very real way.

So that, when we rage, we rage with real power and, unlike now, our voice won’t get lost in a cacophony of other voices bitching about how 7-11 didn’t have their favorite creamer.

This is just my thoughts. Like I said, feel free to disagree. I hope that you’ll look at it and see something you feel is worth agreeing with and maybe share it as a positive instead of a negative.

But if you think I’m invalidating you all over the place, then have at it. I just ask one favor. Don’t tweet the post if you disagree with me. I read the comments. Flame me all ya like there. But let’s see if we can keep the raging to a minimum in regard to my invalidation of your opinion. ::grin::


Oh, p.s. Thank you for reading this.



  1. My 2 rules that I try (unsuccessfully lately, I apologize internetz) to live be to get everything in perspective:

    Rule #1: Don’t sweat the small shit

    Rule #2: Everything is small shit

  2. I’ve been thinking about this too. I know I’ve been a bit rage-y online lately, but I’ve been trying to keep to the stuff that matters so deeply to me that I’m not only willing to talk about it online but to go out and try to do something in RL about it. Being angry all the time is not worth it. I agree, it should be saved for the big stuff.

    Might I add that I <3 you for for this. Thanks for putting this out there.

  3. For me, I think “big stuff” is going to come down to things I plan on doing something about *off* the internet or, at least, beyond just airing my feelings about it on the internet.

  4. Due to the cyclical nature of things, I instituted a 2-day rule on outrage. If it’s not relevant or I don’t still feel I have something to add: I don’t write a post. Tweets happen, and I’d hope to be civil no matter what, but I can’t invest the energy in being outraged about things that are just the rehash of something I’ve made my position clear on already. Outrage can be useful, it can put the pressure on so a teenager isn’t jailed for contempt because she outed her rapists, it can tell a corporation that they aren’t getting away with lying to the public, it can generate action and meaningful dialogue. It can also be abusive and fracturing. Most of the time, we need to take a breath to find our words and communicate it effectively. We all slip sometimes, but as we keep seeing the same kinds of things generating outrage: let’s talk about how to make it mean something in achieving a positive outcome on issues that make our heads go asplodey.

  5. While I am a frequent ranter about things great and small, I do understand your point. What use is it when it’s just a constant stream on ranting? I think it comes down to, not the quantity of ranting, but the quality. I try very hard not to engage in ad hominem attacks on those I disagree with and keep it focused on the merits (or lack thereof) of something. I know I am in the minority though. Most people tend to argue from emotion — it’s part of being human, and I am often just as guilty of it.

    That said, I do believe it is important to point out (in as constructive a way as possible) when you see something you disagree with…but only when what you are critiquing is put out for public consumption. By putting it out for public consumption, it is implicit that you a) stand behind it and b) are willing to answer for it. If someone is not willing to do that, then perhaps they shouldn’t have put it out there?

    I don’t especially enjoy confrontations, but I don’t shy away from them either. As my family and friends can attest, I have opinions on a great many things and a willingness to state them. But I, in turn, accept that means that people are completely free to disagree with me. I love debating things and I have convinced others to my point of view and sometimes I’ve been the one convinced to change my view. And more often than not, it’s just come down to agreeing to disagree…but at least the conversation was undertaken and I have to believe in the end, that is a positive.

    One final point (and an apology for the length of all this): It’s never enough to criticize. We must also focus just as much on calling out for attention the things that we believe to be correct/good/right.

  6. I had a conversation about this the other day – how it’s just not necessary to scream about everything on the Internet or to take every story online and figure out how to spin it. Did I have a thought or two about guns after the Aurora shooting? Yeah, but I didn’t post them online because, oh, I dunno, it just seemed wrong to use the heartbreak of real people right after it just happened to further a political agenda. It boils down to “there’s a time and a place for it,” and sometimes, the time and place is your own living room and not the largest audience possible.

  7. I want to say first that I agree. It seems like the internet outrage meter’s stuck at 10 sometimes.

    I’m curious, though, what sort of topics you’d categorize as “big stuff”? Or is that intentionally left vague?

  8. Thank you for writing this! I also hit the wall yesterday in the wake of all the topics you listed, and pointless back-and-forths in which I found myself engaged. I decided I can’t do the outrage any longer, it leaves me feeling empty, negative and even a little fearful of my view of society. I’ve made the conscious decision to stop posting about it, minimize the reading about it, and save more of my likes, pluses and comments for “the big stuff” or, at least, for things that are positive to me. That doesn’t included “snarky” positive, if you know what I mean.

    It will take some discipline :)

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