Social Media allows us to have detached connection to wider world. And with some mediums (such as facebook and blogs) allowing us with unlimited word counts, a perfect storm is created for ranting.
The idea of venting as a beneficial cathartic effect is not uncommon. Personally I get great relief in the sound proof/shame proof method of screaming in my car or pillow (to no-one in particular).
While it might seem incredibly satisfying in the short term to vent online, it might actually aggravate us more. Unleashing your wrath on facebook will develop anger habits.
Research has shown that those frequenting rant sites, are more likely to struggle with managing their anger and more likely to physically react. Typically, we can sometimes vent and move on, but social media allows us to revisit the problem as people comment. We re-engage into the argument and put new life into the anger associated stress.
Social Media discussions bring to the surface the original anger that we have put to bed.
Typically, we become angry or frustrated by a belief system being challenged. Verbal or social venting provides some temporary relief in reversing the injustice. For example, someone cuts me off in traffic. It is my belief that they should have given way to me. That person has gone, I’ll never see them again, but shaming them in a post on a rant page, I get some satisfaction in slightly reversing the injustice.
Physical exercise and journaling has often been endorsed as effective stress management strategies to eliminate anger and reduce ranting yet modern thought suggests that stress management tools are a better method of relieving anger rather than venting on social media.
A study done by the University of Michigan found that participants who “self-distanced” had fewer aggressive thoughts and angry feelings and displayed less aggressive behavior than participants who internalized their feelings. It suggests that proactive thinking and action can provide some relief.
Founders of the Stress Management Institute, Drs John & Judy Hinwood, discovered that by providing people with self-sustainable tools and identifying triggering behavior, allowed for people to move from a state of stress into calm. With the assistance and guidance of a stress management coach, people are able to be more objective and identify ways to manage their day to day stress.