Fear tames the mind and heart of everyone confined within the four walls of their house. This fear emerges because we care about the elderly who are at greater risk of the coronavirus. And we are angry at a group of people who gathered on the street without keeping the social distancing protocols in mind.
Since the government placed stay-at-home orders and issued self-isolation protocols in order to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus. Most people have started a frenzy on social media platforms. Thousands of people are posting videos of those who break the social distancing rules. It’s an act of shaming those who take the pandemic non-seriously. The targeted are either not wearing masks in public or spring breakers aimlessly roaming on the beach. All in all, fear and anger have become a perfect way to manifest control.
However, tweeting that I saw a man pressing the ATM buttons with bare hands. Or else writing an enraged post about a neighbor who posts conspiracy theories. Are all these social media posts making a difference? Is online shaming really helping? Read on to find out.
Does Viral Shaming Help?
Only yesterday, I was reading an article on valorant boosting to see how professional valorants help boost rankings in a video game. After all, we all are stuck at home and video games can help pass time most enjoyably. But, to my surprise, my phone suddenly blasted with messages on a Whatsapp group. The messages were specifically aimed to snitch and shame a group of people who binge bought toilet paper and did not care about distancing themselves socially.
The video was a viral shame accompanied by cruel comments and unkind views. Indeed the truest form of social shaming, perhaps we have seen the worst, and I think it's becoming an increasingly common issue. Moreover, the truth is that viral shaming does not bring about a positive change in society. This means that viral shaming is not an effective solution to pandemic problems. And as a matter of fact, COVID-19 has become the hot-spot for shaming people who behave inappropriately during the pandemic.
Why Is Online Shaming A Bane Not Boon?
Experts caution that social shaming can have a lasting and bad impact on the health of those who are signaled out. An assistant professor of environmental studies at New York University wrote in her book titled Is Shame Necessary? “That information travels fast and it reaches a wide audience with various opinions.” As a matter of fact, this information becomes a source of potential ruin for the individual or group of people being shamed on online platforms. In simple words, social or online shaming damages the social and emotional health of that individual. In fact, most often we have seen people taking their lives. This is one of the major repercussions of social shaming.
Experts believe that when we don't know a person, it is easier to comment and pass judgments. Because we have no experience of that person's life and we may draw negative conclusions. And amidst all the hate, anger, and trying to be a social activist we tend to forget the larger picture. The larger picture is that these are real people and our actions can have a devastating impact on their happiness and overall life.
Viral shaming also promotes fear and spread of misinformation. We have been dealing with the issue of misinformation during the pandemic. Although the authorities have taken measures to curb the spread of misinformation. But you can still see social media platforms decorated with fake news.
Let me give you an example, only recently I came across a report that revealed the nature of a camera. You might be wondering what role does a camera play? Well, if you think of it rationally, pictures taken from cameras can be deceptive. Here’s how! A lens works in many different ways and can exaggerate the perspective. Even two people standing three feet apart from each other can appear as standing close in a picture. The same incident happened recently. A photograph of people breaking social distancing rules was posted online. But the actual picture was quite different from what was portrayed in the picture. Because a picture taken in a zoom lens might show people close to each other while at a wide-angle the actual picture will appear as people standing feet apart from each other.
I personally believe that in these crucial times social media platforms are a powerful tool to spread information. But powerful mediums can be misused. So, if you feel the need to raise your voice and speak against people who break the rules. Instead of practicing social shaming ask the authorities, particularly your mayor - why places like beaches are still open? At the end of the day, be the change you want to see in the world. After all, punishing a bunch of kids roaming on the beach through social shaming will not solve the problem.