Once upon a time there existed a freedom to do almost anything you pleased – assuming you were in a somewhat anonymous place – without any consequences except frustrating the people directly interacting with you.
Gone are those days.
Now, mess up and you’ll be publicly shamed online, thanks to the person who directly interacted with you and decided to share their negative experience with the world.
The latest example of online public shaming is all about cars.
In a hurry? Parked your car in an accessible spot or not quite completely inside the lines? Passers-by may just snap a photo of your car sitting in the wrong spot and upload it to this British Facebook page.
Have a luxury car? Then your chances of ending up on the page are even better.
The site is meant to replace the anger most people simply internalize when they realize they can’t slide in beside someone, or use an accessible spot closer to the entrance of a building if they actually need it.
Once on the site, the photo of your mistake can be laughed at, heckled, liked and further shared.
There's some good news: If you happen to see your own car on the site, you can ask them to take it down, though you will have to send the group a photo of your license plate.
The site, which launched in June, has over 85,000 likes and hundreds of photos.
Using the Internet to shame people is a common digital pastime.
Last month, when a car had difficulty parallel parking, someone snapped a video and uploaded it. The video has been watched over 40,000 times and undoubtedly made fun of around water-coolers many, many more times than that.
Had it not been, you know, a Ferrari and covered in velvet, there are doubts anyone would have cared.
And a site already exists to shame people who put their bags on subway seats instead of letting people sit – another common anger-inducing act.
Thank goodness for these sites now, right? Instead of the person you’ve angered letting you know how you’ve angered them and advising you not to do it again, they get to tell the whole world you’ve messed up.
It’s dangerous, yes, but in a way, maybe there is a silver lining. There’s a tiny hope that these sites will deter people from taking up extra seats or parking in two spaces by making would-be offenders conscious of the fact that they may end up publicly shamed somewhere on the Internet.
One can hope, at least.