A New Emotional Outlet: Normalize or Discourage Online Venting?

Anisa Rachman, Editor-in-Chief

As technology continues to evolve, the public is becoming more and more creative with ways to use social media and the internet. Nowadays, people can use social media for any purpose: to form and maintain relationships, to become famous, to build a brand name, etc. While it isn’t necessarily new, using platforms such as TikTok to express personal problems and frustrations is certainly on the rise; especially among teenagers. Some see it as a useful outlet for emotions, others believe it leads to a negative feedback loop. Now with the subject being up for debate, the question is becoming more pressing for online users: should venting online become normalized or should it be discouraged?

“When facing a difficult problem, it’s easy to feel alone or misunderstood,” Clear Creek Amana High School Junior, Olivia Romero acknowledged. “Seeing these Tik Tok may bring a type of relief to people, knowing that they aren’t as alone as it may feel.” One plus to using social media as an emotional outlet is that a person can share their thoughts and feelings with a large audience, who can then provide a sense of validation and support. The individual could receive messages of encouragement, which can lead to a feeling of connection to a community. 

In addition to this, those who tend to gravitate towards online venting may lack a supportive network in real life from friends and family. They may be looking for advice or guidance from others and expressing their situation online is the only way they will receive it. 

Sometimes people also just want a way to relieve built up emotions by sharing them with others. Instead of letting emotions and feelings sit, some find it helpful to put their thoughts into words. Romero states, “I truly believe that sometimes posting things like this can help ease strong, negative emotions like loneliness and anxiety. In this modern world, it’s much easier to post about personal problems than it is to approach people with said problems.”

While there can be benefits to this type of expression online, a portion of online users believe it can lead to bigger problems while leaving the real issue unsolved. Constantly sharing negative thoughts and experiences on social media could lead to a negative feedback loop, causing a person to feel worse. According to scientific based publication, Greater Good Magazine, venting in a negative way can actually cause greater distress and stronger emotions in the person as they “relive it”. Looking for validation in a closed-minded way can especially fuel this and lead to emotions and situations to blow out of proportion. This behavior usually turns into lack of accountability and personal responsibility. If society as a whole were to seek validation this way, we would most likely see a world where everyone is viewed as a victim and the world being a negative place.

Clear Creek Amana Junior, Jesse Schuerer scrolling on Tik Tok


It’s important to look at the situation from the other side of the coin as well. From the viewers perspective of these vent posts, it can be emotionally draining. Lending an ear to someone emotionally distressed can be rewarding at times for people because they are able to help a person in need. However, a person only has so many ears; being the listener takes effort and can be tiring. If someone is expected to listen to every vent post that may come across their For You Page on top of offering emotional support to friends and family in need, eventually they are going to burn out. 

“I think empathy takes energy,” Clear Creek Amana High School English teacher Amanda Okopski suggests. In real life, people aren’t constantly leaning on your shoulder for emotional support; for most, it is between friends and family. Online however, you may find yourself being bombarded with strangers unloading their thoughts and feelings to you. “I think people can become calloused to that, and so if you’ve already listened to a bunch of people unload their emotions on TikTok, when a friend or person next to you needs support, you might be full. You might be spending empathy reserves on strangers who will never know.”

Social media can be a great tool to express personal problems and feelings, however, if it is done too much and in an inconsiderate manner it can turn into something harmful for not only yourself, but for viewers as well. Coping with emotions and stress is important, but online venting should not become the only outlet in a person’s life.