People sometimes forget that physics — for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction — also applies to life. And at some point, this unequivocal law of nature will catch up to social media.
Shaming on social media has begun to rage like a burning wildfire, catching and driving the temperaments of those who participate to a boil similar to the temperatures in a wild blaze.
Body image shaming. Shaming for opinions. Users berating one another for their personal preferences, whether it is hunting wild game in Africa, the Confederate flag or independent thoughts, has grown to the point it is difficult to witness.
At some point, social media apparently created a sense of entitlement that needs to be placed in check because it is not an entitlement at all, unlike the attempts to quash the ideas and thoughts or actions of others.
This phenomenon seems to stem from two distinct possibilities in combination with one another.
The first is that sense of entitlement. Anyone who has any kind of access to the internet is afforded a forum to speak their opinion. It seems this has been translated to mean one could do or say anything to forward his or her own opinion as fact and attack anyone who does not agree or bend to said opinion.
Most likely this stems from talk radio where pundits are paid to entertain by verbally eviscerating guests or callers anytime there is a gulf between their opinions.
Anyone who feels the need to stifle the opinion of another to prove the validity of theirs, often using insulting language in the process, has no valid point to make or has an ego that does not allow them to consider they might be wrong.
The second factor is the anonymity afforded by social media. That is followed closely by the ability to delete or remove anyone who doesn’t have the same belief system, thereby removing the opportunity to respond.
It’s a form of bullying and is rarely backed up by fact of any kind, just a vehement or scathing recitation of groundless information often later found to be false. Accountability doesn’t exist and without it, chaos and anarchy may reign.
This is where there is a disconnect.
Although there might be no immediate equal and opposite reaction, there will be at some point.
Most disturbing is the vitriolic way this shaming takes place with everything from parenting, politics, women’s weight or appearance, lack of education, to lifestyle choices that become open to outright humiliation.
At some point the divisiveness will come to a head and the result will be an open forum much like The Jerry Springer Show. Everyone knows that never ends well, no matter how entertaining some find it.
Sooner or later the seeds of public shaming will come home to roost and few will enjoy the wake up call.