The article focuses on situations in which people have been publicly embarrassed. Ronson walks readers through the incidents that contributed to the public’s mixed reactions to the issues. The bulk of the problems resulted from misinterpretation scenarios of the claims that were presented. The case of Justine Sacco is highlighted in the post, whose tweet was deemed not only offensive but also discriminatory by the majority of the audience. Furthermore, Ronson records the stories of shame victims as he examines their lives after the incidents. Job loss, stigmatization by family and friends, identity tarnishing, and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder are all consequences of the incidents. Ronson considers past cases of Massachusetts Archives regarding public shaming in explicating on the actions of the online mob. Ronson further highlights Sacco’s scenario where victims of public humiliation develop a negative attitude towards anything meant to put people in the spotlight.
Tweeter is among the most used social media platforms. Tweeting a poorly considered joke, however, may be risky and subject users to the horror of shame campaigns. An example is an incidence when Sacco sent a funny tweet to her 170 followers before boarding an 11-flight to South Africa from New York. At the time she arrived, she Sacco realized her post was a trending topic that attracted mixed reactions from the audience with amusement for some and outrage for others. The difference in the intention of her message and peoples’ reaction towards it implies the existence of a problem of proportionality. It is valuable to have a set of norms that ensure individuals are responsible for their actions. Many users, however, have abused social media. Sacco’s tweet, “Going to Africa. Hope I do not get AIDS. Just kidding. I’m white!,” attracted mixed feelings among followers in her Twitter account (Ronson 1). Critics referred to the tweet as racist. They termed it outrageous and offensive. In another instance, A. A. Gill tweeted about an experience killing a baboon while in visiting Tanzania. Similar to Sacco, Gill was a victim of shame campaigns on tweeter. Besides, Lindsey Stone experienced similar humiliation after posting a comment while making a joke about as sign of the war dead on Facebook. She lost her position at work after other Facebook users denounced her. Based on the cases highlighted, it is imperative to review the use of social media. Every tweet or comment on Facebook may elicit a serious shame campaign from users and affect the victim.
I believe individuals who are most to blame for the actions are the online users. As much as people should be accountable for their actions, other people should make comments with compassion. The victims of shame campaign should be have the chance to defend the contexts of their comments other users make assumptions about them or call for their immediate resignation. In the article, Sacco did not expect the audience to interpret the literal meaning of her post. In her perspective, she was making fun of the bubble that the Americans live in without any knowledge of what goes on in third world countries. Obviously, the society is obsessed with the utilization of online sites as places of humiliation without being compassionate towards the people they are attacking. In ancient offices, such comments would similarly prompt the manager to advise the offender to stop uttering such statements. Making similar comments today can result in fierce reactions. The present situation makes users endure unimaginable torture for small mistakes. This type of public shaming can have destructive and constructive implications. The destructive implication would be the brutal pillory and emotional toll the offenders incur for their transgressions. The constructive implication would be discouraging online users from posting insensitive and racist comments.
Ronson, Jon. “How One Stupid Tweet Blew Up Justine Sacco’s Life.” New York Times, (Feb 12, 2015). Accessed July 3, 2017 from https://www.nytimes.com/2015/02/15/magazine/how-one-stupid-tweet-ruined-justine-saccos-life.html