Thursday, February 26, 2015
#57 / Instant Shame
"Feed Frenzy," an article by Jon Ronson, was published in The New York Times Magazine on February 15, 2015. It tells a pretty horrific tale about the personal disasters than can be brought on by one thoughtless remark, when that remark is magnified in importance and widely distributed by social media. I recommend the article, which is soon to be included in a book, So You've Been Publicly Shamed. The book is scheduled for publication in March by Riverhead Books.
In many ways, "Feed Frenzy" made me think even more about what some might call "mob democracy," and about the less than stellar success that social media has had in the realm of political movements aimed at achieving political, economic, and social change.
Real contact with real people is essential, in politics (and in life).
That kind of direct, human contact is essential if we are hoping to succeed in making positive changes in the world we most immediately inhabit (and that we, ourselves, create).
That kind of direct, human contact with the people to whom one is connected (or to whom one thinks he or she is connected) is essential if we are to prevent the kind of catastrophic personal destruction chronicled in "Feed Frenzy."
"Feed Frenzy" is sort of like those "viewer advisory" pieces you sometimes see before a television show that includes nudity, sex, bad language, and violence. Except, in this case, it's an advisory to those making posts to social media. It's pretty clear that what happened in the case of Justine Sacco, as described in the article, is not an isolated phenomenon.
Viewer discretion is advised. / Posting discretion is advised!