The Internet is a wonderful thing, is it not? Of course it is. Sure, it has its issues, but in general, look at all the “things” people can accomplish simply because the Internet exists. Without it, I wouldn’t have been able to work from home for five years. I’d never be able to share my writing with all of you. I wouldn’t have met the amazing and inspiring people I like to call friends, even though I’ve never met them “in real life.” I wouldn’t have learned from these people, and I certainly wouldn’t have “all the knowledge” at my fingertips. Let’s face it, leafing through encyclopaedias and such at a library or wherever is just not fun for most of us. Google, I do love you.
The Internet also allows us to be “heard”… by a shit ton of people. This is problematic for a few reasons. It’s fantastic that everyone gets a voice, and I think we should all embrace that, but sometimes we take it a little far. These days everyone gets offended on a daily basis and we’re eager to rant about it the minute it happens. But should we? In my opinion, you all should feel free to rant about whatever you want, but if you don’t want the world to perceive you as a dick, don’t go off on a tirade without thinking about it first.
Ranting is one of my favorite things. I love ranting and I love reading/listening to other people rant. Sometimes all the awesome in the world is contained in one tiny little Facebook or blog rant. But as I’ve said before on this blog, there is an art to ranting, and with that art comes an unwritten set of rules. You don’t have to follow them, but if you want to be heard and your opinion considered or at least respected by others, it’s wise to at least try to abide by a few common sense guidelines.
If you’re considering a rant, I recommend you do the following to ensure it isn’t just one more piece of angry, self-righteous fluff floating around Cyberspace, collecting trolls and such:
- Have a purpose: Ranting because you just want attention is boring. It’s annoying too. Eventually, people are going to be all “Oh, look. Renee’s yelling at us again. Yawn.” And soon they’ll just ignore everything you say, even when it’s important. So make sure your motivation isn’t attention-seeking. If you want to be the star, join a theater company or something.
- Educate: This is kind of related to the first rule. Say whatever you want about whomever you please, but try to at least bring something informative to the table. Teach us something. Show us a point of view we might not have considered. Make us at least THINK about your issue or your words. Rants that say nothing waste people’s time. Time is precious. Got it? Good.
- Research: And this goes with the above. Don’t go all stabby-yelly without getting your facts straight. Nothing ruins a damn fine rant faster than misinformation. It makes you look like a moron and it makes informed people pretty angry. Then they’re going to rant about your rant, and they’ll have facts behind them, so whatever you hoped to gain in speaking out is lost, because your credibility is ruined. Facts are good. Ignorance is bad. Remember that.
- Remain calm: You can be passionate and sweary and whatever when you rant, but before you type your little speech, take time to cool your jets. Angry rants posted in the heat of the moment can be hilarious, but not in a good way for the ranter. You want to be the object of mockery and pity? No, I don’t like that idea either. So, take a breath. Step back. Think on it. Have a drink or do whatever calms you the fuck down. Then if you still feel passionate about what you have to say, go ahead, but choose your words wisely. Also, TURN OFF CAPS LOCK. Fucksakes, that’s annoying.
- Avoid repetition: Repeating the same rant over and over makes you look like a whiner. If something is bothering you or you feel an issue is being ignored, then do something about it. You know, like get off your ass and actually take action. If you feel it’s not worth the effort, don’t bore the rest of us by talking about it every other week. Some of you even do it daily. Just cut it out.
- Offer solutions: I think this is the most important thing you can do before embarking on an Internet rant. If you’re only bitching about the issue, you’re not doing anything to correct the problem. Sometimes you’re contributing to a whole other mess by doing so. Instead of running your mouth right away, take time to think up at least one solution and offer this as part of the discussion. Nothing changes if no one tries to change it, and talking is just words. Take action.
So, in conclusion: Rants are awesome, but they can also be ridiculous and pointless. The Internet is also awesome, but blah, blah, same as above. It gives us a voice, and it gives us tools, but it’s made it too easy to just bitch and moan about problems instead of actively trying to fix them. Before the Internet, we had to act if we wanted to be heard, but now far too many people think just hopping on a virtual soapbox is enough. It isn’t. It never will be. So, you know, stop it. Also, tip your server.