Social media and the lupine masses.

I’ve always been somewhat leery of social media. Very early on Google took on the roll of liberal watchdog, meaningless of course. But this was back in the days when blogging was big and Google wanted to protect a sheep that was producing wool of pure gold. They have moved on from those days. Back then could play the plucky little self-righteous fighter for the little person. But that became utterly ridiculous when they and Apple took the seat at the top of the NYSE and the NASDAQ in market capitalization. Back then Twitter and Facebook didn’t exist, google could at least give the impression it could protect a person from attacks. But now, that would be impossible. This is what happened to Justine Sacco for a few crass tweets http://www.nytimes.com/2015/02/15/magazine/how-one-stupid-tweet-ruined-justine-saccos-life.html?_r=0
Now make no mistake, from just those few tweets I had decided I didn’t like her. I wouldn’t date her, nor would I be all that fond of sitting down to a dinner party where she was a guest. But she sure didn’t deserve being hunted by a bunch of self-important little shits shivering in the pleasure of self-righteously manufactured morality while sitting on their sofa’s swilling wine from containers proper to goldfish.
Near as I can tell what happened (this not mentioned in the news articles). She was bored, and firing off comment as it entered her mind. She had less than 200 Followers who read her stuff, and most of them probably spam accounts. A bit like my 117 followers on twitter. So, for argument sake, she had maybe 100 real people and perhaps 20 of those saw her utterances, if that.
Another now. Social media denizens are divided into two populations generally. The masses and the commentariat, the latter making up about 5% at most. But the latter are very savvy with regard to what they say and how they use social media. -They are very aware to never bring a phone to where they might be drunk, and they tend to surround themselves with people that are in the business or are connected.- They are the ones with agendas. And they are the ones that get 80% of the trolls. They are the ones that want controls of the medium too, for it makes it far easier for them to form and mold agendas if they aren’t spending time countering those that are against them. All while spouting about Free Speech.
There is no doubt nice people sitting at home, when a subject they are vaguely interested pop’s up that they can be especially vicious. And only half intending being so. Equally, a subject that’s close to their hearts, like say abortion, can draw out the very worse from people, with both sides claiming to have the interests of humanity in mind. But the commentariat on both sides can whip their followers into a frenzy and turn them against some innocent who mistook and comment contrary to the message.
So then, what happens to those hunted and savaged by the great moral masses. It’s simple, their lives are destroyed. But what of the person sitting on their couch, doesn’t the fate of the hunted matter to them. No, of course not. They don’t want to think on their actions nor their effects upon others.

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3 Responses to Social media and the lupine masses.

  1. Kelly says:

    Wow! That is quite a story you shared in that link. (and I say “story”, but sadly, it’s reality, not fiction)

    I have very mixed emotions about social media and in general, I think it often does more harm than good. First, it’s easy for “trolls” to hide behind that anonymity (did I spell that correctly?). It’s easy for cowards to feel empowered when they think they can’t be found out. (though most can be traced when it comes down to it). Secondly, I liken FB and the like to the proverbial Christmas letter – often just full of the good and never the bad. People only post what they want you to see/know and quite often it isn’t the truth. Others mistakenly think their friends/family have perfect lives when that’s anything but true. There are plenty more points against, but I’ll stop there.

    I’ve avoided FB like the plague. I’m not the most social person to start with and I just have no desire to get caught up in all that, even as a “lurker”. If I really want to stay in touch with people from my past, I prefer to do it the old fashioned way. I’ve been blogging on one format or another for almost 10 years, but I’ve always kept my blogs fairly meaningless (no real personal drama) and never set them up as to be available in a Google search. (how irritating is it to Google something, looking for facts, only to have someone’s blog entry come up with their opinion instead) I only set up a Twitter account at the urging of a sibling in order to keep track of weather events. Though I do follow a few friends and some ‘celebrities’ (until they irritate me and I unfollow), many of the feeds I follow are weather, science, book, or food related. And…I just see it as a starting point for further research when a tweet interests me.

    I’m not sure the tech-savvy younger generation truly understands the implications that anything and everything you put on the Internet is out there forever. It can all come back to haunt you.

    Back to that article… I fully expected that at least one person whose life had been ruined would have sunk to the point of taking their own life. I know tragedies like that do happen. You know, sometimes that “golden rule” we learned as kids really is the best advice.

  2. Kimberly says:

    Yes, that article was powerful. There are so many aspects to this issue, starting with the need to post anything in the first place. Then it stems from there – the initial “caller outer”, those who feel they have to share it, and those who take it the step further and start the bullying, the hate. There’s some level of narcissism by those who post just to see their words on twitter or fb. That first one in the article – posting on how someone looks or smells, who cares?!?! I read somewhere awhile back that those who post this drivel are actually lacking confidence and are looking for approval with comments and likes and reposts and retweets. So is it narcissism or need for approval, probably a little of both.
    The one that really bothered me in the story was the women who snapped a picture of the guy telling a joke and then posted it – ruining his career. That should be illegal. When a professional camera crew shoots film/video of someone they have to get permission to use it. Why is some idiot with a phone allowed to snap pictures and post them – there has to be some protection under libel or slander laws there. And I get there are freedom of speech/information obstacles with these issues. The laws are outdated and by the time they catch up with what is going on now, they’ll be irrelevant once again.
    I’ve said this before, but I am glad that my formative years weren’t under this kind of scrutiny and bullying was a more tangible problem. Social media is ruining kids’ lives, and I think the kids doing the ruining will eventually be held accountable for it when they try to get into college, get a job, or even just keeping friends. As the woman in the article mentioned, anyone can be searched – you gotta be careful what you put out there. The kids using SM now don’t really have a concept of how their actions can come back and haunt them when they want to become a productive adult. And those who are being shamed have to deal with it being out there, forever. It scares me for them.
    This ad was created to deal with this issue, marketing on the “Mean Tweet” segment Jimmy Fallon does on his show…
    http://www.adweek.com/adfreak/its-funny-when-celebs-read-mean-tweets-heres-what-happens-when-kids-read-them-163438

  3. Ed says:

    With every technology, there seems to be a good and a bad side. With social media, this is definitely one of the bad. That is party why I try to remain mostly on the anonymous side of things to minimize the exposure.

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