Complaining Online 101

By: Shayna Tanen

You’ve seen them. You might even be one of them.

“Them” are the people on your Facebook or Twitter newsfeed who find a reason to complain about pretty much anything.

Service at lunch too slow? Rant about it to 562 of your closest friends. Your dry cleaner lost your blouse? Tell everyone that they should absolutely NEVER do business there again. Those apples from Publix spoiled in under a week? Rally support online and demand the store change its fruit suppliers.

The New York Times calls these tiny irksome rants “microcomplaints.” The term is simple. A microcomplaint is the expression of some extremely minor injustice or dissatisfaction with something in your life. The dog hair on your couch, and your ensuing tirade about said hair, is a microcomplaint. Feeling low about your cowlick and telling the internet at large is definitely a microcomplaint.

The New York Times attributes microcomplaints to a shifting moral culture, smartphones, loneliness and feelings of being left out.

The same spark and energy with which millennials fight large-scale injustices like racial tensions and human rights is also (unfortunately) channeled into the conveyance of everyday annoyances.

“Whine About It” is Buzzfeed’s drunken translation of microcomplaints. In the segment, Matt Bellassai drinks wine and proceeds to ramble on about anything and everything that might be bothersome. Take the common topics of airplanes. Yes, flying sucks. And the Internet is a great place to share your frustrations about it with the world. The Worst Types Of People On Airplanes shows Bellassai complaining about trivial mid-air matters. I’m still trying to decide if, by making ridiculous microcomplaints while drunk, he is trying to make a statement about a society that finds this acceptable. So meta.

No place have I found the microcomplaint to be more prevalent than Gainesville Word Of Mouth. GWOM is a Facebook group meant to inform citizens in the area about businesses — both good and bad. What tends to to be posted are restaurant and business reviews that, to me, don’t accurately portray a restaurant. Some of the grievances are subjective, meaning the bad food a person is describing could be delicious to somebody else. Others are just plain sad. Listen, Facebook users, I don’t really care if your sub from Jimmy John’s was soggy. It happens. You  might want to die for like five seconds, but I promise, life will go on.

So what’s the best way to deal with a serial microcomplainer? Just don’t read their asinine comments. I can’t tell you how many times I could have had a full-blown war with someone on my Facebook newsfeed.

But I’m better than that. And I’m not saying that reviews have no purpose in society. If Amazon didn’t allow reviews, how in the world would I know which flat iron to buy my mom for Chanukah?

But please, millennials, keep your dissatisfaction with your hairdresser between you and your significant other. I’d rather be watching this hamster eat a miniature slice of pizza.

58 thoughts on “Complaining Online 101

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