Think Before You Link

Over the last year or two, the frequency of innocent people suffering after pics/videos/blog posts go viral has increased exponentially and it is FREAKING ME OUT.

Here’s what it is, a girl wears a tasteless costume to her office (Ex: Boston Marathon Victim) and someone posts it to instagram and then several of that person’s friends are offended so they spread it to THEIR friends and then, the next thing you know, that girl’s sister is receiving death threats.


Or what about the woman who wrote an entry on her blogging lambasting the girls of her son’s friends for posting “sexy” pictures of themselves and every blogger argued with her – including myself. (In my defense, I didn’t link to her.) Then she got HUNDREDS of emails/comments chewing her out for her ignorance and shaming.

Well…every time this unknown person gets soaked in an unkind spotlight? I have sympathy anxiety attacks. And it freaks me out that it happens and I pray to all that is holy that nothing stupid I ever do/say on the internet comes back to haunt me.

But then, last week, I was faced with an urge to spread something similar.

Someone local posted something on Facebook that upset me a million times over. It was an offensive Halloween costume and I’ll leave it at that. But…there was a part of me that wanted to post it SOMEWHERE to find SOMEONE to be as outraged as I was. And I thought this is how it happens.

I mean, it was quite offensive and could have easily gone viral, and it hit me: THIS IS WHERE IT STARTS.

It starts with that one person outraged and looking for other people to be angry with them. And I get that…I totally do…I wanted someone to do something to make me feel justified in my outrage. But…OH MY GOD…why do we do that? Why do we want to throw someone we barely know under the bus just to feel better about our visceral reaction to something.

I mean, people ALREADY in the public eye? That’s different. If a celebrity does something offensive at Halloween and you spread that link? I don’t look at that the same way because people already in the public eye are more equipped to handle it. Does it make it right? I don’t know. But it’s DIFFERENT.

But I really wish the negative spotlight on the unknowne would stop. I saw the picture of the girl in the Boston Marathon Victim costume and I felt outraged. But — this is a complete stranger. Is it making the world any better that I’m helping shine a spotlight on her and her bad decision? No.

So I think I’d like that – before we share links/photos/tweets/videos of stupid shit people do with lapses of judgement – we make sure it’s really worth it. Do they deserve the rage that will float their way after their Racist Tweet goes viral? I mean, 9 times out of 10 they probably NEED someone to put them in their place, but it just escalates SO FAST.

The Boston Marathon Victim Costume sister received DEATH THREATS.

Bad judgement doesn’t deserve that.

I don’t know if there’s a point to this, other than just putting it out there. I will do my best not to make it harder for people to live down their bad calls in life. Hopefully someone close to them will teach them how what they’re doing is offensive, and they’ll learn their lesson without the public shame and death threats.

Only in a perfect world, I guess…

7 thoughts on “Think Before You Link”

  1. The Boston Marathon girl had hers and her parents address put out on the Internet and were getting both death threats. She also lost her job. It was in poor taste, but IMO not worth her losing her job!

  2. Would that costume have been the little boy wearing the Trojan condom costume? I saw it, it upset me, but I did not repost it because I actually thought of you and how much thought you put into what you decide to share about your kids. I commented on someone who posted and said that it was shameful that the photo was on the internet to begin with. Once it’s there, it’s always there.

  3. I think I know the costume of which you speak, and I had the same reaction you did. I was DISGUSTED and OUTRAGED and EVERYONE SHOULD BE OUTRAGED AND DISGUSTED WITH ME!!1!!

    But then I realized that, you know, it was a kid in the picture. A kid who probably didn’t get a vote in the costume, or didn’t realize the full implications of what the costume was.

    So instead, I showed it to my household and we talked about why I was outraged and disgusted. And I hope the kids remember this when they pick out costumes. I figure that’s what I should do.

    Because YES OMG WHYYYYY?!

  4. Oh, yes. It prompted a long conversation with Nikki about inflammatory behavior and doing things that upset people which THEN makes it very hard to compromise because everyone is angry and OH YEAH, the kid is a BFF of Nikki too which makes it EVEN MORE AWESOME.

    OUTRAGE. *sigh*

    But I didn’t send it anywhere even though I wanted the world to back me up in my anger, Instead I lectured my daughter for over an hour about the value of RESPECT and CIVILITY. *sigh*

  5. I didn’t see that one, THANK GOD. I barely had enough will power to withstand ONE inappropriate costume 😉

  6. I couldn’t agree with you more. As a society, have we become so mean and vindictive that we feel justified in ruining the lives of someone and their family just because they show poor judgement?

  7. I completely agree with you. I’ve been so upset lately by my niece posting links to embarrassing photos of people in Walmart from a blog or FB page dedicated to just that. I hate it. It’s cruel and mean-spirited to take photos of people and post them on the Internet for people to laugh at. I have my political issues with Walmart, but I know that a lot of people shop there because they can’t afford to go elsewhere, which makes this whole thing worse. It’s a bunch of people who are better off laughing and mocking those who aren’t. Makes me so mad.

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