Wave of Mutilation

pigs killSo did you contribute to the public humiliation of Carter Ruck? The shaming of United Airlines, the ignominy of The Horizon Realty Group. Have you joined the campaign against……wait for it…….. no giggling at the back……….the Belgian Jeweller? Did you get Jan Moir trending and give her a good old 140 character kicking? Transport for London? Get’em!! Yeah? Yeah! YEAH!!!! Join us !!! Boys light the torches! Take the old rope from the barn!! We’re gonna go dispense us a little justice – Internet style.

Then again………

Nothing’s perfect. Certainly not everything, for everyone, all the time, everywhere. Wouldn’t you agree? The best we can hope for surely is the least worst version of imperfection. Of course dumping toxic waste is bad, rip off landlords are bad, dodgy watch repairers, mega rude TFL jobsworths, bigoted right wing newspaper columnists, guitar smashers, fascist regimes, scary dogs, most lies, people who throw stuff out of car windows, marzipan, being short changed, dying is like…..bad. Bad is bad is bad, (subjectively of course)

Bullies and lynch mobs are bad too. Well at least they used to be.

Maybe we should all get together and humiliate them into backing down, back tracking, public apologies on bended knee, begging forgiveness from our massed might.. Teach them all a lesson they won’t forget in a hurry. Come on……… let’s get #bullies to trend. That would show them. Bullies…….you SUCK.

WE. That’s right US, all of US, together, en masse, united, shoulder to virtual shoulder, strong and righteous…………………………………………….. ……………………………………………………………………we’re gonna get you.

But really….no really.

In the same way that social media is great for drawing like minds together, building powerful communities, forces for good, movements of positive change and the rest, there seems to be a mood in the air at the moment that feels slightly……… dare I say it….. threatening. A vigilante, gangish sort of pack finger pointing seems to be on the rise.

Critical masses crashing waves of negative attention on a variety of ‘prey’. I don’t think I’m alone in my discomfort (or my over use of metaphor).

Now, whether the attention is genuinely deserved or not really isn’t my issue here.

In some of the examples above the initial complaint is barely even relevant. The conflict has moved on from the original grievance. Clumsy, legal attempts to have less than complimentary messages disappear from the Interweb are not only considered inference of guilt but also and more indignantly, attempts to silence the truth. It’s this assault on the ‘freedom of speech’ that is being held up as an additional and even worse crime.

How these waves build is the interesting point. Upon what ‘truths’ are campaigners basing their pro-active indignation? Where’s the reason? Where’s the balance? Are these trends and flash campaigns just based on impulse that supports an existing point of view? Rather than informing, is new media being used to simply reinforce?

The article Social Media: Revolution or the End of Objective Reason? takes the debate from a slightly different angle considering whether and how Social Media is itself a victim. Vulnerable to cynical political or corporate manipulation and ingrained individual bias. Lots of people who know very little about a particular issue, combining to great influence.

Wisdom of crowds? Or ignorance?

What do you think?

A wave of mutilation? Or a platform to redress wrongs – a people’s court?

Thanks to Thomas Hawk for the image

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Wave of Mutilation

One Response

  1. Ha !!

    Check out The Moral Maze – http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b00nkcfk

    and other related posts such as this Paul Smith piece http://bit.ly/1d7HyO and Andrew Nattan’s http://bit.ly/MRO4k

    Interesting stuff

    admin November 6, 2009 at 8:38 am #

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