Social media is now the judge and jury of all public actions?


A woman recently took a train trip. According to this woman, a group of men sitting next to her allegedly spent the entire two hour train ride boasting about the affairs they were having while their wives (supposedly) remained blissfully ignorant.  

At some point, she took a picture of one man in this group. Then she posted it to Facebook where it has since been shared 197,038 times (as I write this). The average Facebook user has around 120-130 friends. Even accounting for overlap, that means millions of people have potentially seen this man's face with the message that he is a cheater. That isn't to mention articles and blogs that have posted the picture. (Sorry, you won't find it or a link to it here.)

I don't condone cheating, but this situation is sickening to me.  

This week, news broke that the US government is looking at users' call data. And the internet exploded with opinions on the matter. The most vocal are those who are against this kind of invasion of privacy. 

We don't like the government looking into our personal business (even when it's as seemingly innocuous as phone numbers and call times), but some are quite okay with the kind of public shaming that took place when a private citizen posted a picture of another private citizen with a serious accusation simply because he was having a conversation in a public place. 

I can't help but wonder if this is the direction we're heading. Will every public action we take be scrutinized, documented and shared with the world to be judged? 

If this is the way social media is going to go, I want no part of it. Assuming this man actually is cheating on his wife, can you imagine how humiliating it would be to find out that a) your husband is cheating on you (if she was unaware), b) millions now know about it, c) your kids (if they have them) could find out how many people found out before them.  I can only imagine the damage that would do to the immediate and extended family of this man and they don't deserve to be collateral damage.

There's no excuse for cheating. None. 

There's also no excuse for publicly shaming someone.

People are human; they make mistakes. Some people make more than others and some mistakes have much bigger consequences. I think there needs to be a little more Golden Rule in our actions and less cheering for the downfall of those who (allegedly) make mistakes.  

At the end of the day, we all screw up in big and small ways. Would you want your biggest mistakes broadcast across the internet for everyone in the world to see and comment on?