Stop Using Social Media as a Weapon

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.

 

Photo credit: http://www.pixabay.com

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83 thoughts on “Stop Using Social Media as a Weapon

  1. A-freaking-men. Asking for prayers while one struggles with marital issues is one thing (which is still overstepping a bit to me), but that sort of thing is downright ridiculous. Best to stay away from social media when you’re upset.

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    • Agreed! Do not run to social media to vent. You can delete a post later, but that doesn’t delete it from the minds of those who read it. I am pretty much an open book on Facebook when it comes to my feelings, but I have a hard and fast rule that I will never, ever speak ill of my husband. It doesn’t lead anywhere good.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. I absolutely agree with you. You don’t need to expose, show your insanity, and innocence on social media. Writing a status ignorant of all from family to friends following to you is gonna no good to you even if you are innocent. You are actually making a fool of yourself.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I think people simply forget, when they’re posting something, that this wonderful world of the Internet and social media is in fact the Town Square; a Town Square where gossip spreads faster than a forest fire fanned by gale force winds. Interesting and thought provoking post.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I have been more tempted than ever lately to stay off of Facebook, and this is just another reason why. I prefer the “save the drama for your mama” approach. I do have some amazing connections thanks to Facebook, though, so I cannot abandon it just yet.

      Liked by 2 people

  4. I fully agree with you! I use social media to keep in touch with friends back home and I don’t want to see people airing their dirty laundry in public. That sort of behaviour is indicative of a bad relationship and its awkward to see it.

    Liked by 1 person

    • It is awkward! I am far from perfect, to be sure, and my relationship has the bumps and ups & downs like any other. I just don’t believe in vocalizing every “wrong” move my husband makes, and I am 100% positive I would not care for him doing it to me!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I know the feeling you got when you read your friends post, it is literally a Cringing Shutter! For me it was a nephew posting about his father, my brother, throwing a public tantrum over being grounded from his computer devices due to low grades.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Perhaps…..the person is beyond caring if they look bad to you or anyone else. Perhaps that person spent years putting on the perfect show and is just done….. Perhaps that person spent years of therapy trying to get an unresponsive spouse narcissistic spouse to engage, then, by accident, found out that the only way to get their spouse to respond or act like they care was when it was put out into the universe…… And voila! An actual conversation happens that should have happened long ago, if the relationship was normal and healthy. Perhaps, there is more under the surface(as there always is) and it is better said, “but for the grace of God go I”, let go of the judgement, and extend grace and love, and pray for that couple.

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    • I have no doubt that when someone posts something of that nature the last thing they are concerned about is how they look to me. There most certainly is always more under the surface they we show in our “Facebook Life”…be it good and/or bad. I would not presume to make a judgement on another’s relationship (unless there was evidence of physical or emotional abuse) as I am not in a relationship that is free from the tests and trials of a marriage. I must, however, hold firm and fast in my conviction that public spouse-shaming is neither healthy nor productive. On that point we will have to agree to disagree. Best, Karen

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      • Oh no, I actually DO agree it’s not a good way, I was raised to by very private people, so I get it. And especially in a committed relationship, It is never the “proper” choice. But as I hate to confess I’ve been guilty of this a couple of times, and I like to play devils advocate, I had to go there. 🙂

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  7. I 100% agree with you there, I hate Facebook. I haven’t been on there after closing down my account over a year ago and life is so much better without it. It unbelievable how different it can be really, my partner and I saw a difference in how things were between us and how we talked and the things we talked about pretty much immediately after I left it. It’s horrible and all it does it cause arguments and gossip.

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    • It has definitely taken a turn for the worse. Some days it seems like nothing more than an open sounding board to air grievances and debate political/ public events. I used to feel the need to log on daily, but I’m finding it easier to be away from it now.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. I agree with you 100% on this! For the life of me, I don’t understand why some people use social media in the way they do. It is like the have lost their brain! Not only when it comes to airing their public laundry, but posting things of total ignorance, things they know absolutely nothing about. I have actually “unfriended” a few because I cannot even stand to read the CRAP they post! Do your homework & get a therapist!

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  9. I enjoyed this. FB wasn’t a pleasant experience for me on a lot of levels but I would have to say a distant relative’s “sexy” photo on her toilet, underwear down around her legs was the absolutely last traumatizing straw for me…

    You’re right. You can’t unsee what you’ve seen…

    That being said; as it relates to this topic I would venture to say her post sounds like (imo) she’s throwing a public tantrum as a result of not being heard privately. In either case some things are best left unsaid.

    e

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  10. Even when I was feeling at my most hurt and wanting to spray insulting words across the garage door to announce to the whole street my pain (social media didn’t exist then) I didn’t. Some things should not become ‘public’ knowledge. It doesn’t solve anything.

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    • Agreed. We all have times in our relationships or marriages where we would like nothing more than to scream from the rooftops about how we have been wronged. Having the restraint not to do so is a sign of personal growth, and it will result in a far better outcome.

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Another post where you’re spot on, Karen. The awkwardness created by posts (and pics) like these are horribly vulgar. One of the many reasons I have eschewed the whole Facebook thing from the beginning. Am glad to know I’m not the only one that cringes when I see stuff like this online. Sometimes, technology is not our friend……….

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  12. You are so right about this Karen. I have seen people post all sorts of things on Facebook that thy really should just keep private. Nobody wants to get in the middle of a public spat between a warring couple. I know we all get upset over things but Facebook etc is not the place to air grievances.

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  13. I am so with you on this! (And of course, many other things you post about)
    Social media has become the platform to wash your dirty laundry, or blow or trumpet or take petty digs. Pretty much everything. Privacy! What’s wrong with it?

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  14. Ouch! I’ve seen this all too often along with friends bashing unnamed coworkers. Simply wrong and inappropriate. Nice example we all set for the kids. And we wonder why they feel it’s OK to bash each other, either openly or by hints, on all the social media they use.

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    • Yes, the veiled digs that are meant to be so thinly disguised that everyone knows who is being referred to… I was wondering the same thing- how will today’s kids know to do any different than what they see being done by adults every day?

      Liked by 1 person

  15. I had a roommate who did this A LOT. Talk about destroying my safe space. It’s passive aggressive, immature, and extremely hurtful. I’m with you on this one, Karen!

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  16. So true, Karen. There are people I know I could never live with in real life, based on living with them on Facebook. Not only do some over-share very personal stuff, but others who regularly give the cryptic, “Not sure if life is worth living” post. Then there are the complainers. I agree with you. Facebook should be kept light.

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  17. I definitely agree! There are certain things that just aren’t meant for social media, but I totally get how you can get caught up in the moment. It’s important to take a step back, take a deep breath and reiterate the situation so you don’t end up doing something you may regret later on. It can be hard, but it’s definitely a skill worth learning!

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  18. I have seen those posts as you have so vividly described it Karen, and I myself cringe. You never know the consequences and irreparable damage can be done, with a simple click of that “Post”, without thinking twice about it.
    I only learned how to e-mail 7 years ago, and got a Facebook account 6 years ago. It is SUCH a different world from the hand written letter, and face to face communication that I grew up with.
    As always Karen, just an incredible post.
    Thank you for sharing! 🙂
    ~Carl~

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  19. I agree that dirty laundry should not be washed in public because it’s hard to un-see what’s already been seen. Social media has lots of pros which seems to make us forget the cons. Great post. Quite enjoyed (and related to) this perspective.

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    • Funny you say that because in retrospect I thought I should have titled this post “Keep Your Dirty Laundry in the Hamper” or something to that effect. 🙂 You’re right, though, there are many pros to social media, too! Thanks for stopping by!

      Liked by 1 person

  20. That is awful! No one should ever do that to anyone, especially someone you claim to love. When a person goes out of their way to make someone else look bad, what they do instead is make themselves look bad. I feel for him, regardless of what he did.

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  21. An uncanny coincidence that I should stumble upon your post today. Yesterday my sister attempted suicide (she’s 57). Statements on Facebook went too far, became ugly and spiraled out of control.

    Words have owners. When they get spewed out in a manner to injure, they become weapons.

    I will never join Facebook. I understand it is a wonderful way to connect with others, but it also has the ability to take on a crowd mentality. Some of us can blow things off more easily then others, but then some of us become shredded by callous and vicious accounts.

    There will always be those who need the final say. There will always be vulnerable prey. Use your noggins. Consider that not everyone thinks as you do. Have a sensible disagreement. Agree to disagree. Move on. Let go.

    Please. A life is valuable even if that individuals comments are below you. Rise up, excuse yourself. More along and engage with others.

    Thank you for listening.

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    • Oh my goodness, that is horrifying! I cannot comprehend what would drive people to go into attack mode like that. You are right, no disagreement should be taken to such lengths. I wish for peace & healing for your sister. Thank you for sharing this- if it reaches just one person it helps.

      My husband is a police officer, and we have seen some of the most vile, hateful things posted on social media. There are times we have to turn it off and walk away, but that doesn’t take the bite out of the words.

      Liked by 1 person

  22. Once on the Internet …. The insult is to her, if she has kids she insulted the father and kids have father genes, blood, therefore she insulted her kids too! There is a reason to keep skeletons in the closet! I use to work wit people who spent their all day digging dirt on friends and enemies alike! It is the new trend washing your laundry in public!

    Liked by 1 person

    • You have summed it up perfectly! I used to work in the same type of environment, so toxic. You never make yourself look better by knocking someone else down! Thank you for visiting and sharing your thoughts! Best, Karen

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  23. This is very well written. I enjoyed reading it and love the message! Even though I write personal essays (exposing so much of myself), I try to change names and protect people. All people should enjoy a level of privacy and protection. The incident you wrote about sounds humiliating for the spouse- a sign that the relationship may not be all that supportive or loving to begin with – terrible to make everyone aware of that though.

    Liked by 1 person

  24. I purposely did not read previous comments. I have observed that social media has become a bully pulpit for those who choose to use its broad reaching powers.
    Due diligence should be exercised.
    Not likely because the form of social media, I think becomes an extension of the users psyche. Like a shoe that is needed, or even an article of clothing.
    Is the incident related a one time event or does the writer place constant bulletins on what affects them.
    Then there is the matter of pain, we all accept or react differently. Emotional pain is horrible to endure. Long running pain, like snippets that build in a shredder may block the operation of same.
    I’m at a toss up and my heart reaches out to all of you effected. Signed: hesitating to post–highly charged subject.

    Liked by 1 person

  25. I am glad that you did decide to post despite the hesitancy. (I understand it, as I tend to steer clear of controversial subjects on social media, but I felt compelled to write about this subject.) You bring up a valid and important point in that there is, I’m sure, an underlying current of emotional pain that is driving the actions. It is a clear cry for attention, to be heard, and to be acknowledged. I am just not a believer that social media is the appropriate place to request that audience. I would make no judgment on the relationships or look to lay blame at anyone’s feet for any existing problems. Who is without fault in their own relationships that would be in a position to do so?

    Thank you for venturing forth to share your valuable thoughts on this subject. Best, Karen

    Liked by 1 person

  26. At the risk of sounding like a town crier ‘hear, hear!’ Completely agree with all your points. It infuriates me and if it wasn’t for having a back catalogue of photos and memories, plus it being the easiest contact with friends overseas, I’d happily sack off Facebook altogether for exactly these reasons.
    Another thing that galls me is when people leave statuses for attention, such as ‘OMG, I can’t believe this has happened AGAIN’. You’re then subjected to a myriad of comments all vying to find out what said thing is! Like you said, pick up a phone or inbox a friend if you need someone to talk to – but please don’t put it out there, all cloak and dagger, just to get a conversation going! Ooh, rant over – sorry!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Ooooohhhh, the mystery status….Arrrggghhhh!!! That one gets me, too! I absolutely refuse to comment on those! I guess in some ways social media brings out the attention-hungry, narcissistic tendencies in people. I wouldn’t say I’m immune to it, because really any time we post a status or a photo we are seeking some sort of response. You have to know where to draw the line, though. I enjoyed your rant- thanks for stopping by! 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

      • Haha, yes I guess we are guilty of wanting the world to validate out existence somehow, but still… Just make it clear what you want the world to like or comment on!!
        Ps. thanks for justifying my attention seeking by following 😉

        Liked by 1 person

  27. I completely agree! I’ve experienced moments similar to your story. It’s rather disheartening to me that social media is used as a way to shame people. Nobody wants to see any one else’s dirty laundry, so why share negative words? These are never necessary to share with the world. I try to consider the following before posting: Is this going to make someone 1. laugh 2. smile or 3. think positively or educate…then it’s worth sharing. ~Positive vibes~ 🙂

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  28. I agree with you about the rhetoric being used on FB. In fact, I wrote a post about it on my blog a few months ago. I was so sick of FB I wanted to disappear from it, however decided not to yet. The best way to avoid the craziness is to elimate negative feed friend by friend. With so many hot topics cooking in the world, and so many passionate opinions out there, this trend may continue to downspiral.
    Xx

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    • I’ve toyed with the idea of leaving FB behind as well, but I still do find some benefits to it. I am learning to hide posts that address any of the “hot-button” issues. The “unfriend” button has been used a time or two recently. Here’s hoping for a return to how it was a few years back!

      Liked by 1 person

  29. People forget you can’t un-ring some bells and that even when you hit delete it really doesn’t go away. 🙂 I remember when I was a child they would say if you wouldn’t say it in front of your mother or grandmother don’t say it. Maybe today it needs to be if you wouldn’t say it to that person’s face don’t say it.

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  30. I should open by saying that I’m a thousand years old and still can’t get used to the idea that people might choose to live their private lives in public–or parts of them anyway. But even more than people who want to settle private scores with their nearest and (until twenty seconds ago) dearest, I’m horrified by people who use the relative anonymity of the internet to troll other people and say stuff that, 99 times out of 98, they wouldn’t have the nerve to say in person.

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    • Well said, Ellen! I would imagine some of these people interact with their co-workers, sit at the dinner table conversing with their children, and then hop on the computer and spew all manner of hatred and venom at strangers. It is a phenomenon I will never claim to understand.

      Like

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