Yesterday I posted an op-ed at Wired called “Why You Should Think Twice Before Shaming Someone on Social Media,” about considering the power of your online voice before you shame or call someone out online. One of the examples I used was Adria Richards, a prominent tech developer who…
(click the title above to read Laura’s complete post)
I’m not a very big fish in the Internet realm. I’m also a straight white male, which means my hate mail is typically limited to “you are a bad writer” and that’s that. So I find value in things like Public Shaming because it offers me perspective on how bad things can get online.
Would I attempt to “shame” someone who tried to hurt or threaten me? I…I don’t know. The temptation would be strong. Perhaps I’d try to make light of it?
I recall last year’s incident where the “Gaijin Gulag” guy wrote an impossibly long blog post calling out people who had criticized him online. Even though I had never directly contacted him, I had tweeted about his situation and left comments on blog posts discussing his tale of being deported. This was enough to make his shit list, so he included me in his diatribe.
I only merited a paragraph or so in his rant, and in the grand scheme of things it was petty. But I responded because I didn’t appreciate the way he labeled me a bully when all I did was question his story, one which grew increasingly dubious as detailed emerged.
Still, I look back on that and similar mass-outrage incidents and I wonder if I, by calling him out as others did online, became a bully simply because we outnumbered him. He was, by all accounts, a lone nut; a guy who spat at anyone who dared to engage him on any level. It became a spectacle. I wondered what he was going to say or do next. I couldn’t WAIT to point and laugh at him.
That’s not good.
Do I owe him an apology? Probably not, he was (and perhaps still is, just not on Twitter) an irascible jerk to everyone and anyone. If he were to show an inkling of remorse I’d consider it. But that doesn’t mean I can’t reflect on my behavior and consider how to handle the next (inevitable?) confrontation.
The Internet is a funny place. It allows us to instantly contact huge crowds of faceless people. I’ve been blogging for nine years, Tweeting for five, Tumbling for three. Beyond the audience that I know, there are thousands who see my words reblogged or retweeted. In those instances, strangers will see my face and name next to words I’ve written and they will use that information to form an opinion about me.
Do I want that opinion to be based on an insult of another person?Source: laurahudson