That Whining Sound? It’s the Internet


I have three children under the age of six.

Trust me.

I know whining.

And if you want to experience a lot of whining – especially the self-entitled snarky kind – there’s no better place than the World Wide Whine… er Web.

Have a bad shopping experience?  Whine about it on Twitter.  The waiter at the local restaurant wasn’t up to snuff?  Rip him and the restaurant with a bad review on Yelp.  Experiencing terrible flight delays?  Use the opportunity to tear up the airline with a Facebook status update.

Have we turned the Internet into safe place to bitch and moan about everything (kind of like sticking your tongue out at the school bully when you’re standing next to your dad).

Sometimes it seems like the entire Internet is waiting with bated breath for someone – anyone to screw up – so we can leap on them like a pack of wolves and rip them to shreds.  Why do you think we get a drumbeat of PR people thrown under the bus by their peers no less every time one us makes a mistake on a social media channel?

Lately it seems like everyone is complaining all the time.  We’re all whining about the economy.  The Republicans are in a constant whine about Obama.  Newspapers continue to whine about Google.  Twitter users are complaining about the new ReTweet feature. Lots of people are complaining about Google Sidewiki (including myself).  Sarah Palin appears to whining all the time – and now she gets to do it on FOX-TV.  Blah! Blah! Blah!

And the biggest question of all?  Is all of this complaining doing us any good?

Or does having a personal online platform – or multiple platforms – start to make small transgressions seem larger?  Have we lost the ability to give people the benefit of the doubt?

Maybe we all need a lesson on how to stop whining.

While I don’t want to be guilty of being bright-sided, I have decided that one of my resolutions for 2010 is to do less whining complaining and to think more about finding solutions and providing helpful answers.  Let’s see how I do.

What do you think?  Is there too much complaining on the Internet or not?

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4 Responses to “That Whining Sound? It’s the Internet”

  1. Mike Petrosillo January 12, 2010 at 2:16 pm

    Amen brother! Enough is enough! Most of the whiners would never think of behaving that way in front of someone. And most of them love to use pseudonyms just to be safe. (Wait, am I whining online right now?)

  2. Hi Mike:
    Technically, you’re whining about a post about whining that may in fact be a complete whine. Oh, well.

  3. Geeeze George!

    And you a Social Media Guy! It is not whining, it is ‘constructive criticism’ with a dash of personality!

    No… Wait, It is a ‘opportunity’ to engage in dialogue with a customer mano o mano.

    No… It is an individual articulation of a perceived shortfall in an offering looking for validation. This presents an another ‘opportunity’ to ‘enable’ ‘engagement’ in a public forum to ‘improve’ the ‘offering’.

    Okay, I’ll stop busting your chops for a moment.
    You can’t have it both ways, regardless of the semantics of the argument. You can’t advocate communication/conversation/dialogue and then regard comments critical to a product/ service as whining.

    You have and here we are:)

    The great problem with Social Media is the expectation that all discourse will be rational. (You have three kids:) Assuming that internet discourse regardless of platform will conform to some sort of Miss Manners conventions is just plain silly. Which is why you are saying ‘whining’ whereas I say ‘constructive criticism’. Passion and Rationality do not always sleep together.

    Mike’s comment above about that folks would never say those things in front of someone is silly as well. Those folks may not do it aloud, but they will end up swelling the ranks of the herd when an idea gains traction.

    You mention that PR guys get thrown under the bus. That issue probably is grounded in the perception and practice of PR as mostly damage control and smoke and mirrors publicity.
    You know, “yes it was a terrible oil spill, but look at how large the ocean is” blah, blah, blah… The embracing of Social Media by PR shops isn’t going to improve this image anytime soon.

    Social Media advocating having a Facey Spaces or tweeters page locks you in to an arena where somebody else has determined the rules of engagement and forces you to play along on their terms. And presents a much larger target for whiners.

    Besides, there is something creepy about having ‘followers’. I can hardly think for myself and you want me to think for others too? A bit too Jonestown for me.

    You are still attempting to control the ‘conversation’ and channel it in a direction which may not have any basis in reality.

    Some stuff does universally suck.

    As for giving people the “benefit of the doubt”, the majority of whining or complaints happens ‘after’ folks have bought products or used services, and found them wanting. They have already put their money where their mouth is.

    Attempting to deny them expression by regarding it as whining smells like trying to direct the conversation(again), which as your post points out is sort of like filling a condom with a firehose and hoping that it doesn’t break.

    “Yes it sucks that our 100% organic rice picked by bare footed virgins in a field fertilized with natural organics and fed by spring water does come in that PBA laced non biodegradable plastic bag, but everybody knows that buying this version ‘may’ help us to provide the next version in 100% natural yak hair bags. Thank you for your Patronage!”

    BTW, this is not a ‘self-entitled snarky whine’, this is a RANT. An important semantic difference.

    p.s. I point out the distinction as most rants do include the characters above the numbers on the keyboard and EXTREME CAPITALIZATION, and this doesn’t, but I am trying to elevate the conversation.

  4. Hi Flopoke:
    I don’t believe your comment even counts as a rant. It’s dialogue and discussion – with some valid points. However, I’d argue there’s a HUGE difference between constructive criticism and whining.

    My argument is against the latter – not against pointing out bad products or services. A whine by definition is “feeble” and “petulant.”

    For example, a movie review criticizing a production by making valid points and putting out flaws in the script or in the acting isn’t a “whine.” It’s constructive.

    Whining is complaining about the price of tickets and the fat, smelly people you sat next to and why can’t everyone just lose weight and stop eating that disgusting buttered popcorn and those gross M&Ms? And can you believe the stupid hairstyle the actress had and that phony baloney accent? Gawd, I hate going to the movies because they all stink and I could do a better job myself because I’m great and everyone else is an idiot!

    That’s whining.

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