- Audio Download
- Listening Length: 8 hours and 21 minutes
- Program Type: Audiobook
- Version: Unabridged
- Publisher: Audible Studios
- Audible.co.uk Release Date: 12 Mar. 2015
- Language: English
- ASIN: B00S8JEH9A
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank:
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So You've Been Publicly Shamed Audiobook – Unabridged
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Top customer reviews
The first example, where someone writes a quite innocuous quote purported to have been spoken by a celebrity (Bob Dylan), exposes the author to be a serial purveyor of ‘alternative facts’. Discredited though he was and publicly shamed, not to be deterred, he attempts a public apology in front of a screen showing live real time Twitter tweets from the televised apology audience. So whilst apologising, the tweets take on a more serious and sinister turn and he is shamed once again as the audience get bored with his speech.
It shows how surprisingly easy it is for a person to be destroyed by social media by a simple slip of a tweet or a post. Like all of the author’s books there is the inevitable humour in the way it is delivered or a character is described, whilst underneath there rumbles an element of intimidation and threat that is ever present.
It is informative, shedding light on the murky worlds of Facebook, Twitter and Google and led me to google myself for the first time - unbelievable!
This book is exceptional (I think I feel that after every book I read of Jon Ronson’s) and opened up a whole explanation for me, a fairly new social media person, on how things have changed quite dramatically over the past four years. As followers and friends have grown in number it reinforces my original and continued fears of what could happen if you say the wrong thing. Everyone should read this book and be mindful of the old adage ‘DO NOT SHOOT THE MESSENGER’ otherwise you will miss the point of it. Pat McDonald British Crime Author
Being destroyed by Twitter mobs must be absolutely horrendous for those singled out, but his sympathy for women like Justine Sacco seems to be going too far. She posted the following on a public forum, one in which anyone can share or comment on what they see.
Chili-cucumber sandwiches-bad teeth. Back in London
Going to Africa. Hope I don't get AIDS. Just kidding, i'm white!
Like much of the written word in these formats, there is no context, so misunderstandings (if that's what they are) are frequent and likely. Even in text messages with friends and family, I would argue that all of us have had experiences where we're unsure of the true meaning of the message because we have no idea of the tone of its author. Perhaps that was meant to be sarcastic, we think. Or are they joking? Were they having a go? Am I being too sensitive? This writ large is Twitter. Well, once you've added the anger and hate. How are we to know what's a joke anyway? And are some things really appropriate to joke about when your subject matter can read it and be offended or hurt? Should we say anything at all when it can end in such horrendous abuse? Ronson argues that her Tweet was meant as a 'comment of white privilege-on our tendency to imagine ourselves immune to life's horrors' [p.68], but even with that explained to me, i'm not sure it comes across that way. Would I have written it? No way. Even if I wanted to make that point, it wasn't the way to phrase or or the appropriate place to post it, as a jaunty aside right after jokingly maligning the English about trivial things.
Likewise, Lindsey Stone who posted a silly picture of herself giving two fingers to a military memorial. I get the idea behind doing things in front of signs telling you not to do something (we've all seen them: pictures of people walking on grass next to DON'T WALK ON THE GRASS signs etc), but perhaps the choice of just what to mock should be considered more fully. I really appreciated the recent campaign by an artist attempting to shame people taking thoughtless selfies at a Holocaust memorial. Is is wrong to shame these people? Not in my eyes. I'm not advocating the darker aspects of the mob: death threats, rape threats, posting of personal details such as addresses all go way beyond too far. But these altered images and some of the moderate tweeters who responded to the above examples forced people to really think about what they were doing or saying. Perhaps they even prevented others from doing something so stupid, insensitive, and harmful. As Judge Ted Poe was quoted as saying 'sometimes people should feel bad' [p.79].
In the end, Ronson seemed to be emphasising that people do not always deserve the vitriol they get online, that maybe we are the ones getting it wrong. He suggests that we need to look at ourselves, the way we respond to these issues/events, and whether we are part of the problem, our knee jerk reactions putting us in the role of pitchfork holder. Perhaps that's true, but there needs to be some acknowledgement between the different types of shaming and whether it may even be our responsibility to do it. The dentist who killed Cecil the lion? Caroline Cried-Perez who suggested Jane Austen be on a bank note ? Both of these people where hounded online, but these nature of their apparent transgressions are entirely different. If we are to think abut our role as the arbiters of shame, then we also need to think about how we decide who deserves it. I'm not talking about the tolls, who want to call you something very bad if you say the sky is blue, I mean the larger community working to highlight illegal or immoral or inappropriate behaviour. Increasingly, we have taken on that role as the world is brought to our screens and we have the means of making our opinions heard. I think Ronson has it right in asking about the shamers as much as the shamees, the greater being how we as individuals and then as communities are policing the world and if or when we are abusing that power. It's honestly fascinating and this book is certainly a good way into the discussion. Another is just to put the book down and get on Twitter to see it for yourself....if you dare.
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