the walking writer

“So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed”
Author: Jon Ronson

"So You've Been Publicly Shamed" CoverPeople say stupid things; it’s just a fact of life. Before the Internet however, people said stupid things to their friends and family and were unlikely to lose their jobs over it. “So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed” covers a few choice stories of recent public shaming that occurred on social media. They are all stories you’ll probably recognize if you’re on social media or go to Google News occasionally. Through the book, the author explains each story and interviews the individuals involved, giving them a chance to give their side of the story. After reading the book, I came to the following conclusions:

  • People don’t deserve to lose their jobs over a stupid picture, joke, Tweet, etc.
  • People also don’t deserve the malice and attacks they get from anonymous Internet users when the person in question does something stupid.
  • If you want to avoid losing your job and getting attacked, you need to learn to be smart about what you share. Predicting what will go viral is impossible; all it takes is someone with more followers than you to make something of yours go big.

If you are really into social media, either as a user or observer, I highly recommend this book. I hope this book might help some individuals remember to think before they get angry at a silly tweet a random stranger made. Yes, it’s easy to get caught up in the online fervor when someone says something stupid. But, should you really feel good yourself about causing someone to lose their job just because they made a stupid joke?

After I finished this book, I admit there was a small part of me that wanted nothing to do with the Internet ever again. I’ve seen way too many examples of people treated horribly online for no good reason; sometimes it doesn’t even take a bad joke to rile up some corners of the Internet. There is lots of good to be found on the Internet, but sadly there is plenty of bad too. However, I hope that this book will start an important conversation and maybe change a few minds.

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