"Take no heed of her...She reads a lot of books."
~Jasper Fforde

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

So You've Been Publicly Shamed (Jon Ronson)

As many of my readers (who are bloggers themselves) might know, the world of the internet is a great way to share your thoughts and opinions.  But, it is also a great soul-sucking void where your life can be ruined in an instant if you do something stupid.  I'm thinking about the people who post drunk party picks on Facebook and then can't get a job, or anyone who gets majorly shamed by the internet for posting something disrespectful or rude.  I've had my friends shame me for comments (mostly political stuff on FB about something they did not agree with).

But, that's what this book is about.  What happens when you're the person who posts that inappropriate comment online?  And everyone freaks out on you?  I mean, we believe that we're being noble.  By calling out that person who claimed that we should [insert terrible thing here], we are standing up for truth, justice, and human rights.  Right?  I mean, we're the good guys here... right?

Of course, it's not all that clear cut.  But, when it comes to public shaming, there is a fine line between telling someone they're wrong and completely destroying them.  That's the topic explored in Jon Ronson's newest book So You've Been Publicly Shamed.  Now, this was a legitimately good book.  It brought up a concept that we don't normally think about, and forced us to sit back and reconsider our actions.  This is especially important online, since we are often anonymous, and we are legion.  We have the safety of the crowd.

If you're interested in sociology, or what happens when a comment is made online, what the end results of our actions can be, then I suggest checking out this book.  It was very informative, and I enjoyed reading it.  Of course, fair warning: some of the stories are hard to read, not because they are graphic, but because it can be depressing to see someone put through the wringer like that.  Still, I gave it a three of five on Goodreads, so I suppose that's a start!

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