If you were sitting near a group of men bragging about how they were cheating on their wives, what would you do about it? Ignore the conversation? Get up and move? Turn around and tell them what a bunch of pigs they are? Or would you surreptitiously snap a photo of one of the men and post the image on Facebook, along with a request to share and ultimately shame him for his alleged actions?
The latter scenario is exactly what happened last week when a Pennsylvania mom posted a now-viral "Is this your husband?" photo of a man on a train. She asked people to repost the damning status, and she certainly got her wish: it's been shared more than 183,000 times. The question is, did she do the right thing?
In my opinion, the answer is a resounding OH HELL NO.
Last Wednesday Steph Strayer posted a photo on her Facebook page along with the following text:
If this is your husband, I have endured a 2 hour train ride from Philadelphia listening to this loser and his friends brag about their multiple affairs and how their wives are too stupid to catch on. Oh please repost...
The image has since gone viral, although it's not known if the man has been identified yet. There's a LOT that isn't known about this whole story, actually, which is why it makes me so uncomfortable.
I mean, let's imagine the various scenarios in which this whole thing could be a giant steaming pile of social media bullshit: the guy could have been engaged in some obnoxious but ultimately harmless bragging with his buddies. The poster could have dreamed this up as a hoax. The guy could be in on the joke. The guy could be completely innocent of any wrongdoing and now his photo is plastered all over the Internet because the poster has a vendetta against him.
Or maybe he really is a scumbag cheater, in which case his wife gets the humiliating experience of finding out when 50 of her acquaintances forward the photo to her? All of these possibilities suck. They suck a LOT.
What also sucks is the idea that we now live in an age where our behavior can be so easily dissected and shamed via social media. It's one thing when someone purposefully shares something about themselves on social media and gets unwanted backlash as a result, it's something else entirely when a guy having a private conversation -- however unpleasant that conversation might have been to nearby listeners -- is subjected to becoming a trending news topic, thanks to someone's cellphone camera.
I'm sure there are plenty of folks who are applauding this woman's decision, but it just gives me the creeps. It's invasive, and without any context, it's just dangerous. Imagine if she'd written that she overheard him talking about being a pedophile, for instance. Do we really want vigilante justice dished out via unverified Facebook claims? Because that's one hell of a slippery slope, if you ask me.
What do you think about this Facebook post? Do you support her decision to share the image?
Image via Facebook
Going to baseball games
Riding bike rides in the nice weather
Playing outside after work/school
Going for walks outside