Please stop getting naked on Facebook.
Imagine the scene. I walk into the middle of a crowded mall food court just before dinnertime. I have a couple of friends with me, and I’m holding a few bags from nearby retailers. As people glance my direction, nothing seems off—yet.
Without warning I dramatically drop my shopping bags and commence taking off my clothes. And I don’t stop. Everything comes off. The friends who are with me at first think I’m joking, until the last garment hits the floor. At first no one notices, until conversations dull to murmurs, murmurs to whispers, whispers to shocked silence. Everyone in the food court responds in different ways. My friends are embarrassed, concerned Moms and Dads are shielding innocent eyes as they shuffle their kids away, teenagers smirk and point, more than a few people lose their appetite as looks of nausea reveal they just may see their dinner again. Reactions are a predictable cocktail of shock, disgust, confusion, anger, humiliation, discomfort, and shame. Even writing this feels a little awkward.
From the expected reaction of onlookers in that mall scene, you and I can learn a valuably simple lesson. The mall food court is no place to get physically naked. No place at all. Thankfully, there are laws in our land that prevent people from doing what I just described. Unfortunately, these laws don’t apply to social media.
Before you quote the nudity policy of your favorite social network to me, realize I’m not talking about physical nudity. I’m talking about getting emotionally naked. Emotional nakedness on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter has gotten out of control. And it’s making matters worse.Emotional nakedness on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter has gotten out of control. Click To Tweet
I’m not arguing against freedom of speech. Our great nation’s Bill of Rights guarantees you and I the right to flaunt ubiquitous idiocy with impunity. And social media gives us the megaphone. No matter how baseless my opinion or how limited my perspective, I can hashtag my way to likes and shares to my heart’s content. And usually the more combative and specious my claims, the more attention I get.
If I was about to walk into the mall food court with naked intent, and you were a reasonable bystander, I’d hope that you would stop me. If you clicked on this article and read this far, consider me your reasonable bystander. Please stop getting Facebook naked. It’s a huge problem. You get emotionally naked on Facebook every time you grab an offense that isn’t yours, hashtag your opinion without facts, and add your shout into the spit-drenched megaphone. When you get emotionally naked as you tap away—tweeting mad—you make matters worse. When you charge a police officer with racism or a black man with a crime, without knowing anything more than one limited angle of the story, you add your kick to the already fractured ribcage of our society.You get emotionally naked on Facebook every time you grab an offense that isn’t yours. Click To Tweet
I know people stare when you get emotionally naked. Even if that attention feels good, it’s not healthy. Those closest to you feel embarrassed. Others argue right away, telling you how bad you look naked or demanding you robe-up. Others run away, as they unfollow you or hide your posts. You’re not being novel, you’re not a martyr, and though you think you are hashtagging your way to a more perfect union, I think the evidence speaks to the contrary.
If you really want to solve one of our societies greatest ills, just keep your pants on.