So You've Been Publicly Shamed by Jon Ronson
So let me begin by saying one thing:
Thank God Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram didn't exist when I was in high school.
I was an emotional kid, and if my diaries were any indication, I can't imagine what I would have been posting to social media accounts in the 90s. I shudder to think about it, because guys - that stuff lives on. I fully believe that in the not-so-distant future, we will see a political candidate - probably Presidential - laid to waste by something he (or she) tweeted or posted on Facebook at age 16. I'm telling you. Just wait.
This book mainly focuses on people who made thoughtless comments on Twitter, made poorly timed jokes, made up a small quote to support a book, etc. and who were immediately and publicly crucified by the entire world. One girl made a "joke" about AIDS. One girl took a stupid and disrespectful picture in front of a military cemetery. One guy told his friend an under-the-breath joke at a work conference and the lady in front of him heard him and posted his picture on her Twitter account and her blog.
Now granted, pretty much all these people made some really dumb choices. No doubt. But the ferocity of the backlash against them was staggering. Ronson does a great job of exploring why we, as a public, feel so good about shaming others - especially if we are "anonymous" on the Internet.
I'd like to think I would never make a social faux pas like these folks, but I'm sure if I flip through my past Twitter and Facebook statuses, there have been moments where I could have been misinterpreted or what I said was just plain stupid. It makes me question if social media is just one big dangerous pit we all walk around, teetering on the edge, until one misstep sends us plummeting down forever.*
*Except for this blog. Because that'll never happen. Right?