I have a love hate relationship with social media. If you’re being honest, I would guess you do too. Am I right?!
I use to think that there was no shame in the social media game. I’m going to share a semi- embarrassing story that simultaneously makes me laugh and gives me feelings of anxiety and shame.
A few weeks ago, after dinner, I decided that I would take Quinn (my daughter) and Mr. Feeny (my crazy Labradoodle) for a run. Don’t ask me what possessed me to push a stroller in one hand, hold a leash attached to an 80 pound canine in the other, all while running. I plead temporary insanity. Anyways, we had gotten into a rhythm…that is until Feeny had to take care of business. Twice. The problem was, I only had one bag. I had cleaned up his first mess (and was carrying the poop bag and pushing the stroller in one hand, while still holding the leash in the other) but I had nothing to clean up after his second “accident”. I attempted to get what I could with the first bag, but I was slightly panicked.
I always get on my husband for not taking enough poop bags and here I was stranded. My options were to run 35 minutes round trip home to get another bag in order to come back and clean up only to return home yet again for bedtime (which we were already dangerously close to)… or keep going. Perhaps knocking and apologizing and asking for a bag was an option too, but that just didn’t happen. If I’m being completely honest, some battles just aren’t worth fighting. So on I ran, leaving the poop and my guilt behind…or so I thought.
Social Media Shaming
The next morning shortly after waking up, I was scrolling through Facebook and all of a sudden stopped dead in my tracks. There, before my very eyes was a picture of me, Quinn and Feeny. My heart sank as I quickly realized what was happening. To my horror, a screenshot of a home security camera showed my dog poop indiscretion on our neighborhood Facebook chat. Regret quickly sank in and my anxiety shot through the roof.
Regret quickly shifted to anger as I read the post. The man (whose identity I will protect because despite his ridiculousness, he is still human, so I will chose to treat him as such). This man proceeded to admit that upon spotting said poop in his yard, he went through FOUR DAYS of footage (I’m astounded that he felt that this was the best use of his time, but to each their own). He even acknowledged that my hands were quite full and it appeared that I attempted to clean it up…but that just wasn’t enough. He asked that anyone that knew me immediately contact me in order to inform me of his threat: If I did not return by that night in order to clean up the poop, he would report me.
The sinful side of me had some EPIC come backs and even better ideas of what to ACTUALLY do with the poop. Thankfully the logical and kind side of both my husband and I took over. He stepped into action and immediately went to this man’s house (at 7:15 AM- because if you can blast me on the internet at 6 AM, you can sure as heck answer your door to have a rational, face-to-face conversation, right?!). I know you won’t be shocked when I tell you that this internet shamer, though obviously home, chose not to answer the door. Why? Because it’s far easier to hurl threats, maliciousness and hatred when you can’t see the face on the other side.
If I’m being honest, even worse than the post itself were some of the comments. Talk about a slap in the face. One man even asked where he could find a security camera of his own because this was such a problem (talk about first-world problems). I won’t bore you with all of the comments, but it went on for quite a while. Thankfully a handful of people kindly rallied behind me; one fellow mom even saying “consider it fertilizer and move on…”
However, there were some extremely hurtful and angry comments. Need I remind you that this was all surrounding my dog’s POOP, which I have likely only ever failed to pick up a few times since getting him nearly 4 years ago. I acknowledge that I was in the wrong and wasn’t prepared and perhaps could have handled the situation better- don’t worry I run with two bags now!
But, it’s not about the dog poop here. It’s much bigger than that. It’s about common decency and respect. It is NOT okay to bully, berate or belittle people, whether face-to-face or online. There is a serious problem, dare I say epidemic, running rampant online. Regardless of who you are, what political party you associate (or don’t associate) with, what ethnicity or race you are, what you’ve done or where you come from, there is a line in the sand and it is being crossed over and over again.
Ya’ll, I was literally AFRAID to run in my neighborhood after this. And that ‘s just because of dog poop. I can only imagine if I had been shamed due to my parenting, my race, my religion or anything else that seems to be personally and commonly under attack on social media.
My prayer and my hope would be that people can step out from behind the comfort and the false security of their computer screens in order to look in the eyes of their neighbor (even if that neighbor’s dog did poop in your yard once). May we remember that we are not fighting against each other. We need to be for each other (See Community over Competition). I pray that we can chose the high road and rather than slipping into shame we can chase after grace and acceptance.