Social media shaming is spiking during the coronavirus pandemic, for better or worse |

Social media shaming is spiking during the coronavirus pandemic, for better or worse

Jennifer Brown, Colorado Sun
Examples of social media shaming around physical distancing, from Gov. Jared Polis to celebrities like Padma Lakshmi.

Big Brother is in your Facebook feed. And watching your Instagram account to see if you’re going anywhere besides the grocery store. And ready to troll you on Twitter for doing something selfish during the pandemic.

If you were part of the hordes that parked at Berthoud Pass last weekend to backcountry ski, we saw your car in the CDOT camera image that circulated online. Now the head of the state Department of Natural Resources, among others, is disappointed in you. “The pandemic is not a vacation,” agency executive director Dan Gibbs said, retweeting a photo of the snowy parking lot and paraphrasing the governor. “Selfish” was a popular response to the picture.

“PARENTS, WHERE ARE YOU?” shouted a Denver-area woman on Nextdoor, the ultimate neighbor-to-neighbor shaming platform even before the new coronavirus, complaining about a dozen high school-age kids playing volleyball. Another person threatened on Nextdoor to shoot pepper spray in the face of anyone who came too close on the trails. 

Social media shaming obviously isn’t new, but it’s spiked during the outbreak of the new coronavirus. And while some of it is hurtful — and downright mean — it’s not all bad, say experts who have studied social media behaviors for years. 

Gov. Jared Polis’ #DoingMyPartCO is essentially peer-pressuring Coloradans to stay inside, pick up takeout from local restaurants and get fresh air (close to home). If the fear of getting infected isn’t powerful enough, the possibility of having your photo taken and shared publicly is one more reason to stay home — or resist the urge to buy all the toilet paper and cans of soup. 

Read more via The Colorado Sun.

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