I'm so outraged that someone has done something I don't like that I must tweet them and tell them all about themselvesI don’t go on Twitter very often anymore and it’s for one simple reason: It’s wearing to see people getting outraged for the sake of being outraged.

Genuine outrage, so that very strong reaction of anger, shock, or indignation, is highly useful and productive when channelled effectively. Twitter has been effective at times for bringing important causes and issues to our attention. There are people who feel so strongly about a cause or misdeed that they get up and do something about it and they even gather up a tribe of people who feel similarly so that they can make even more impact. We need these people. I would add that I greatly admire who get up and do as opposed to just making noise. Remember back when we were kids and people used to protest a hell of a lot more? Nowadays we can get outraged without having to stretch ourselves. Literally.

In an age of social media where our next round of anger, shock, and indignation, sofa outrage is but a click away. Outrage has become a hobby and a way of passing time for some.

Imagine if in real life we went around yelling our opinions at people, telling them off or ridiculing them for what they say, twisting what they say to suit our agenda of being permanently peeved about something, stirring the pot, or just letting rip and being pissed off all of the time – we would soon alienate those around us plus we might even be perceived to have anger issues. Yet there are people who spend a great deal of their online activity doing just this.

  • Do we really need to feel outraged about the fact that a celebrity has named their baby something that we don’t find palatable or worn something that we ourselves wouldn’t wear?
  • In fact, do we really need to act as if we know celebrities personally and cuss people who are not fans, and do we really need to keep letting celebrities or people in the public eye know how much we dislike them?
  • Do we need to seize on everything that people post and find a hidden meaning?
  • Do we need to keep berating the person after we’ve made our point?
  • Now that we’ve established that we get outraged by the likes of the Daily Fail, do we need to still keep clicking through and then expressing outrage for the hell of it? Haven’t we figured out that a lot of these media outlets make money out of sofa outrage?

When a person suffers from sofa outrage, they spend their lives primed and ready to kick off about something. If you’ve ever been around someone who seems to be constantly kicking off or who has no levels to their drama so they react strongly regardless of the size of the matter at hand, then you’ll know that you stop taking them seriously. It’s become faux outrage (the crocodile tears version of outrage) – they’re going through the motions but not really understanding what and who they’re pissed off at and they’re using this outrage to serve a purpose.

Some people use their outrage to garner attention and validation from others. At times this amounts to tearing people down in order to feel and look big.

Social media almost invites us to be outraged for the sake of being outraged and all from the comfort of our sofa. There isn’t the filter of face to face and body language – not having to face the people who we unleash our opinions and fury on means that we can often be far more heavy handed and opinionated than we would do if were facing them. There’s a steady stream of opinions and self-promotion ready to be slapped down by the willing and able.

Sofa outrage is a sign of avoidance.

If the outraged were truly being honest with themselves in other more pressing areas of our lives and were dealing with underlying anger and resentment about whatever’s truly bothering them, they wouldn’t spend their time telling people all about themselves as if they’re the authority on living perfectly or as if it’s their moral duty to use the internet to put people back in their place.

Spending my working life online has taught me to not forget that I and others are human. I’ve learned that by not saying anything online that I wouldn’t be prepared to say to someone’s face, that it forces you to have perspective and to think before speaking. It provides that much needed filter but it also encourages integrity where you’re not having one real life persona and then an online one that unleashes your dark side.

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