I have to be honest here, I kind of thought I’d coined an awesome new social media term. Upon checking with the holy grail of Internet nonsense, however, the Urban Dictionary has once again proven me wrong. What is Ragebooking, you ask?
The act of venting about your personal frustrations in your status on Facebook. This is typically done as if you were talking directly the (usually a person) subject of said frustration, when in fact you are talking to every single one of your friends on Facebook. It’s usually a good idea to be as vague as possible as to who you are talking about while doing this, as it causes people to wonder if you are mad at them personally. This increases interest and the possibility that someone will leave a comment along the lines of “Who, me?” or “Who/what are you talking about?” on your page, giving you the delusion that people give a [bleep]. This can then be replied to with either telling them straight out or the classic “They know who they are…”. Interestingly enough, most ragebooking is done by people who aren’t even Facebook friends with the person they are telling off, leaving the victim unaware of the fact that they have been ragebooked. Statistically speaking, ragebooking is absolutely one-hundred percent unproductive and never helps things at all.
We all have that one friend. Okay, I know I do, please tell me I’m not alone? That person who spends the majority of their time online complaining, ranting, or just being outright mean? I often wonder, do these people realize how they sound? Many times, seeing the offender in person yields a completely different experience, so why all of the complaining online? In my highly educated scientific opinion (read: At least a bajillion hours logged on Facebook. That makes me an expert, no?) I have deduced that the majority of these ranters and ravers can often be broken down into a few select groups:
- The bored – The most harmless of the Ragebooker. They don’t have anything to talk about, so they complain. These people are not often inherently mean, they just fill dead air with negative commentary. These are often the people that if you call them out on their actions, they truly have no idea that they’re more negative than positive in their online interactions.
- The cruel – Their life sucks, and they want to drag everyone down with them. They’ll attack at random, and you never know who the next target will be. These people often have miserable existences, and it is always someone else’s fault. They utilize social media to share with the world who is currently at fault for their misfortune. Avoid these people, there is no pleasing them, and you will find that it is very tempting to engage with them. Don’t. It is a waste of your time.
- The overly large keyboard muscles – This person is typically utilizing a silly name and a meme photo for their profile image. They’re often decent enough if you know them in person, but they love nothing more than stirring the pot, especially on public posts. You’ll typically see them out flexing on posts with a large number of comments – news stories, popular bands and celebrity updates, and anything controversial they can find. They love telling people how stupid they are, and why they all suck. The steroids really start to come out during election years and in the wake of hot political issues. Also known as Trolls. Often have horrible spelling and grammar.
I’m certainly not the first person to notice the overwhelming amount of negativity online. A simple Google search returned over three hundred million results for the query “why are people mean online?” Turns out, it has come up a time or two. Answers range from scientifically complex to simple “because people suck” hypotheses. A lack of nonverbal social cues, anonymity, group think, and physical distance are reasons that come up in research often.
My guess is that there are a multitude of reasons that people are mean to each other online, but that the old “misery loves company” adage still rings true. Finding people to commiserate with has never been easier, so why not throw your frustrations out there and see what comes back at you? I’ll tell you why. If you keep putting that negativity out there, that is what you’ll continue to get back. I challenge you to go one whole day without posting a single complaint, bitch, vent, frustration, or negative comment. See how you feel at the end of the day. See what kind of comments you get on your positive posts.
I know that this isn’t possible all the time, especially for those that work and communicate frequently online. We have to continue to challenge each other in order to get better, right? I’m not all sunshine and roses, but I do know that we don’t have to be cruel or mean to get a point across. In fact, by not engaging and ignoring someone when they do go on a Ragebooking spree, they just end up looking silly, and their post will quickly be buried and forgotten. Remember, if you don’t feed it, it won’t grow.