The price of social media shame

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There have been so many incidences where individuals have complained of being shamed publicly via social media such as twitter, Facebook among other online platforms. I know most of us have been eyewitness or victims of this social media vice of shame. Public shaming is simply a way of embarrassing individuals on media because of their wrong doings. This aims at inflicting an impact on the wrong doer to so that they cannot be involved in doing things again. It has been witnessed in modern society; the social media has been in the realm of open shaming. Most people in today’s society are using media to openly shame some individuals. This has been perceived to be the modern way of punishing these individuals who have wronged the society not to repeat the mistake again.

Unfortunately, public shaming can make someone feel humiliated and even lose the self-esteem to work hard in the modern society. It can however lead to legal actions against the offenders which may see them staying in jail or alternatively getting the legal punishment in relation to the mistake. The early year’s mode of punishment was brutal and painful as compared to the modern media punishment, which haunts the social psychology of the individuals involved.  Thus, the price of social media shaming can be severe to the offenders if an action is taken against the. There have been several cases where individuals have been publicly shamed because of their behavior. For instance, the American dentist by the name palmer who was verified on social media after it was realized that he had been behind the killing of a lion in Zimbabwe by the name Cecil. There were so many twits, which were openly calling for his killing and there after skinned (Bradshaw, Pruden, & Tantor Media, 2011, p. 15).

There has been several scenarios where individuals have lost their jobs because of misusing the social media by abusing or accusing others faultily. Just but to mention, Paul Alvarez who wrote a bad joke in his brief news story had to be expelled from his duties on this ground. Also Justin Sacco was the public relations officer who sent a twit stating “Going to Africa. Hope I hope I don’t get AIDS” (Bradshaw et. al, 2011). She was publicly shamed and ultimately lost her job because of this. To date, she is still wandering and has no job. This is example of the price that one can pay for nasty public communication towards others. This essay however will narrow down to one of the individuals who are in dilemma and confusion because of his actions that he himself perceives bad (In Chase & In Bantebya-Kyomuhendo, 2015, p. 21).

It is recorded that, on august 1, 2012, was the date, month and year that Smith had his worst experience on social media since he was born. When interviewed live on CNN, Smith admits that he had wanted to make a difference in the United States but unfortunately things worked against his wishes. The sequence had been a political problem within the aftershock of an administrator’s announcements on marriages of gays, a position which Smith did not like. This individual, was courageous enough to stand-alone and oppose the bylaws made by the executives on gays. This was his thoughts even though expressed on social media. So many people rebuked him on the media for the nasty video he had posted. Seeing the numerous abuses that were being thrown towards him relating to the video, he had to be bold enough for the second time and apologize on the same. He sent an apology to the person in the drive through pleading for forgiveness, which did not bear any fruits because things deteriorated. For Smith to have lowered himself low to make an apology which was not taken neither did anyone bother much about it, reveals that he was sorry for his actions (Bradshaw, Pruden, & Tantor Media, 2011, p. 53).

The author records that Smith was already in regret to his rude actions. The impact was so fast that it repelled back onto him within a very few hours.  This is how worse social media can be. First Smith feels ashamed for his weird actions, which lands him into abuses in return by so many users online. Things get out hand by morning when he goes to job. The author further mentions that the circumstances were by far out of control by the time he left work for home. Punishment befalls him afterwards, it is said things had gone out control, meaning there was no way Smith would have rectified them for better. This is how people in the modern society are threatened, rebuked and harassed. This is happening on media even if what they are standing for makes some sense in some manner. It has been justified by Smiths story and many others who have gone through public media harassment on their communications via online media.

The video of Smith sermonizing a Chick fill A went viral on social media and ultimately lead to the loss of job. The author of the article records that “The video went viral, and Smith the CFO of a Tucson, Arizona-based medical device manufacturer lost his well-paying job” (Bradshaw et. al, 2011). The problem of shaming an individual on social media is not only an injustice to some on but also it is a social problem that ought to be addressed around the globe. We find that Smith pays his ultimate action dearly. He is tortured psychologically and even thinks of deleting his life at one point. It was a worse experience in his life because just 72hrs after the video had gone viral, he received so many threats via mails, threats were posted on his doors, and his private facts was freed in the public domain including the addresses of his children. Smith states that he seriously wondered whether he really deserved that shame kind of shame. He admits that he was very shameful, “There was an incredible quantity of disgrace I fondled” ((Bradshaw et. al, 2011)). This shows how it really affected his life (In Chase & In Bantebya-Kyomuhendo, 2015, p. 47).

In summary therefore, I would say that as much as the victims face shame as a result of their posts on social media, there is still a huge punishment that there follows. For this story of Smith, he was abused online, he has lost his job, and his life is in danger as well as that of his children. Worse of it he is in depression because he feels he did not have to go through all those things. His life was adversely affected for the reason, that he is not able to get another well-paying job elsewhere. Smith’s predicaments are not justified because, first he apologized after realizing he had done a mistake and the threats and loss of his well-paying job was not proper and worth his actions.

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  1. Bradshaw, J., Pruden, J., & Tantor Media. (2011). Healing the shame that binds you. Old Saybrook, Conn.: Tantor Media.
  2. Bradshaw, J., Pruden, J., & Tantor Media. (2011). Healing the shame that binds you. Old Saybrook, Conn.: Tantor Media.
  3. In Chase, E., & In Bantebya-Kyomuhendo, G. (2015). Poverty and shame: Global experiences. Oxford, United Kingdom: Oxford University Press.
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