Recently, I’ve noticed something in my newfeeds that is both irking and alarming.
Some people (many of whom I don’t know in person) are using Facebook as a virtual clothesline to air their dirty laundry. I’ve seen grown women rip their boyfriend’s exes to shreds through status updates, guys do the same thing about the ladies in their lives (past and present), and others write dramatic, cryptic posts about people, presumably inviting a slew of comments from curious “friends” wondering who they’re talking about.
Please, just stop.
No matter how badly someone has done you wrong, there’s nothing about posting your dirty laundry on Facebook that’s cute, empowering, witty, or intelligent. In fact, it’s sort of alarming (and, frankly, it makes me happy that we don’t actually know one another in real life).
I don’t mean to sound insensitive. Trust me, my heart goes out to those going through turmoil in their lives. We’ve all been there. And I’m not suggesting we so selectively filter and curate our social media content to offer the illusion that our lives are nothing short of exciting, rewarding, and joyful 24/7.
Everyone knows that they aren’t.
The horror stories of my friends’ parenting adventures are refreshing and real to read about in my newsfeed scroll. And I did appreciate the humourous (albeit angry) commentary of another friend in discussing an unfortunate telephone experience with a sales rep. I am not suggesting that all Facebook content needs to be uplifting.
But the dramatic bitching about others is unnecessary and not adding value to anyone’s life – it’s actually hurting you, as your contacts inevitably question your integrity, emotional intelligence, and trustworthiness. When you post an emotional rant that’s directed at another person, your friends and followers think it’s a desperate cry for attention and nothing short of a temporary fix to unleash your apparently uncontrollable emotions. Doing so makes you seem untrustworthy to others, including potential new partners or professional connections.
Furthermore, you look like you have too much time on your hands and nobody to talk to. Others may think that you have low self-esteem if you need to publicly post your viewpoint for ‘likes.’
There is also a fine line between airing dirty laundry and social media shaming (which is never cool, in my opinion). It’s become too easy to damage someone’s reputation from behind a computer screen. Not to mention, aside from a loss of respect and a few potential “unfriendings,” airing your dirty laundry on Facebook can have very real consequences on your own life. We’ve all heard the horror stories of people posting their workplace grievances online and getting fired not long after.
It’s easy to forget who exactly may be reading your social media rants – whether they’re about your spouse, neighbour, or ex. Once it’s out there, it’s out there. Deleting it may be a good idea, but it only makes you look more erratic. If you feel the need to write things out (which is sometimes the best therapy), perhaps you should create your own diary – just one that’s not broadcast on social media. Facebook is not your personal diary or journal (repeat that out loud if you need to).
If you have to ask yourself whether your post is “too much” or something you could potentially regret, odds are it is. Ask yourself why you would even post it. What will you gain from posting it and why will others care? I once read somewhere that if you wouldn’t feel comfortable with a status update appearing on the front page of a newspaper, you shouldn’t start typing it.
There’s already so much junk that piles up in our newsfeeds that we don’t need to read about your dirty laundry. Keep it in the hamper.