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#NationalStopBullyingDay and Public Shaming

National Stop Bullying Day is held on the second Wednesday of October, but it kinda sorta could use an awareness day every month.  Every week?  Um… a daily reminder?

A few weeks ago, I read Jon Ronson’s new book, So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed*, and I’ve been digesting it ever since.  Every time I see a person being skewered on social media, I think about how they would have been a chapter in his book if this moment had occurred earlier.

Isn’t that terrible?

There was a wonderful quote in the book that summed up social media.  For me, it occurred on page 88 out of 336 (because I was reading the e-book):

I once asked a car-crash victim what it had felt like to be in a smashup.  She said her eeriest memory was how one second the car was her friend, working for her … and then a blink of an eye later it had become a jagged weapon of torture — like she was inside an iron maiden.  Her friend had become her worst enemy.

Has social media, which has been a very good friend of mine for many years, become my worst enemy?  No, not quite.  It’s still a community-building space, for me.  But I have a lot of fears about social media, most of them contained in truly scary ideas like Peeple.  And the fact that the people who made Peeple didn’t think there was anything wrong with it as they made it.

Where am I going with all of this?  I have no clue.  Only that sometimes social media feels like an out-of-control train, and I have to hop off it and roll through the grass and observe it from afar until I sense that it is slowing down and I can hop on again.

*A side note: I loved this book.  I devoured it in two or three sittings.  I couldn’t take it in fast enough.  But I often feel that way about Ronson’s books.


1 Nicoleandmaggie { 10.14.15 at 9:44 am }

Is that the one where he completely steamrolls over Adria Richards?

2 deathstar { 10.14.15 at 12:58 pm }

So I read a blurb about Peeples to my husband this morning and he says, “So it’s basically an online bullying thing?” and then proceeds with his usual rant about how awful society is. I think the founders are going to find themselves on the receiving end of that public shaming pretty soon. And I find it’s embarrassing that two women founded it. Because if they’ve lived the life of a typical woman they out to know what’s going to come out of people’s mouths. If they want to to be about positivity, they should have ratings around people’s altruistic activities or the hours they devote in service to other people.

3 deathstar { 10.14.15 at 12:59 pm }

And thank you NicholeandMaggie, I read up on Adria Richards and what Ronson wrote about her (or did not write) and my mind is absolutely blown by it all.

4 Justine { 10.15.15 at 9:04 pm }

This book has been on my wish list for a while … glad to hear the review!

(c) 2006 Melissa S. Ford
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