I scroll through my Facebook Newsfeed, smiling at a few jokes and memes. I get my dose of popular and unpopular opinion as I slide by posts about the cause du jour. I hit the “Like” button on a picture of a friend’s impossibly adorable children. I leave a congratulatory comment on a post with good news, and I share a motivational quote on my own wall.
Then I hit on that post. The one that makes me cringe. The one that makes me suck in my breath. The one that causes my inner voice to cock its head back and say, “Oh no she didn’t…”
Oh yes she did. One of my friends has called out her spouse in a withering, sarcastic post, and it is right there for me to see. Me and several hundred of her other closest friends. Throw in close to a thousand more, because to add insult to injury she has tagged him, making the post visible to everyone on his friends list, too. Ouch.
Well now, this is awkward. It is also infuriating. It sets my teeth on edge like few things do. No, I am not angry at your spouse for the alleged egregious act you outlined with such relish in your diatribe. I am, in fact, furious with you for putting me, your spouse, and all of your friends in this position.
Maybe your spouse failed to complete a requested home improvement project. Perhaps he was less than helpful with the children. He may have insulted you or made you feel less than appreciated. These are all things that matter, and if you feel hurt or wronged they should be addressed. They should not, however, be tackled on a public forum. The days of shaming in the town square are long gone. Call a friend or a close family member if you need to vent or seek advice.
I find myself questioning your motives. If you are seeking attention there are far better ways to get it. If you are trying to make yourself look good by making him look bad you are failing. You have not diminished your spouse in my eyes. You have not gained an ally in your domestic skirmish. You have, however, knocked yourself several rungs down my respect ladder.
You may remove the post after you cool down. You will forgive your spouse and let him back in your good graces. You will carry on with your daily life and with your marriage. You may even forget about the post or the reason for it, but I will not. I cannot unsee what I have seen, and I will forevermore relate my thoughts of you back to this incident in much the same way that a certain song evokes an instant memory. If it will stay with me I can imagine it will stay with the hundreds of others privy to it as well. Ponder the amount of discomfort you have spread with that one little post.
In this age of advanced technology and rampant oversharing you need to understand that there are still some things that should not be fodder for discussion on social media. I know friends who have gone through difficult divorces or break ups within the past few years, and they have exercised restraint by never speaking a bad word on the internet about the other party. If they can exhibit that level of class in dealing with their situations then it should not be asking too much for you to do the same with yours. I hope you consider this with care in the future, and I ask you to think twice before hitting that “Post” button.
Stop using social media as a weapon. Facebook is not your personal battlefield. Leave the media wars to the celebrities and the political pundits. Save those status updates for your diary. Even an open book like me understands that some chapters are best kept private.
(Note: I use the term spouse here for purposes of illustration and brevity. The message applies to husbands, wives, significant others, and partners equally.)
What are your thoughts on this topic? Do you believe there is such a thing as oversharing, or are all topics fair game? As always I welcome your comments and feedback.
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