Bullying and Shaming

Storytelling is a way of communicating a point but while providing resources to support the claims. Both danah boyd and Jon Ronson, convey their ideas surrounding the digital era using this method.

Through storytelling, Ronson and boyd discuss various “side effects” of social world through topics like bullying and shaming. Through their interviews with teens and members of their communities, they showed us as readers various elements that can be exposed through the various forms that the internet provides.

In boyd’s chapter on bullying, she discusses how it has become so easy for teens to express their feelings about others. Her definitions of bullying and drama both lead me to further think of the idea in relation to shaming. One definition of drama was, “performative, interpersonal conflict that takes place in front of an active, engaged audience, often on social media” (boyd 138). How is this different than Ronson’s shaming?

In Ronson’s So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed, after an article was published regarding his mistakes, Jonah Lehrer was forced to make a public apology in which live tweets were displayed behind him. Jonah made a mistake and Michael Moynihan was able to monopolize on it. Michael wrote the article that exposed these mistakes, despite his reservations. Boyd talks about this issue of reservations through her experiences with Trevor and Matthew. She writes, “… they saw creating such incidences to be a source of entertainment, even when someone got hurt in the process” (boyd 129). So these topics of bullying and shaming may not be as different as the authors portray.

Michael, Trevor and Matthew were all using someone else’s mistake or lives to create their own forms of entertainment. Michael in writing about Jonah’s mistake and Trevor and Matthew pranking each other for social media to react to. Ronson also discusses how even despite hurting someone else, they may believe they are “doing something good” (104). He uses this to explain a guard’s actions in the Stanford Prison Experiment. While this “guard” acted violently towards “inmates”, he stated, “… I thought I was doing something good at the time” (Ronson 104). In these men’s actions, they were joking around with each other or just trying to make a living. And in the guards situation, he believed he was providing the desired results of the study.

Whether or not shaming and bullying are connected, both Ronson and boyd provide similar arguments supporting the idea that they are both a source of entertainment; even if someone gets hurt in the process.


Author: Mackenzie

With a mix of knowledge, I strive to compile English, psychology and advertising to enhance the digital world.

3 thoughts on “Bullying and Shaming”

  1. I agree with your last statement that both shaming and bullying are forms of entertainment for people, however, I think that they are different in some senses. With shaming, anyone from all around the world can contribute their opinion to the situation or incident, regardless of whether they know the person or not. With bullying, I think it occurs with people you are more familiar with. Bullying can definitely take the form of shaming however. But shaming is usually occurs when someone or something does something against the moral code. Whereas when bullying because shaming, the victim might have done something negative or positive and they are still shamed for it.


  2. I hadn’t considered the terms bullying and shaming as entertainment, but you have a point. in boyd its called drama and its followed by those involved, Ronson shows many examples of people following stories with excitement. It also seems that you were focused on the method of proof (storytelling) and what that meant for the general message, which was something I hadn’t considered, and I think that’s really cool because it distinguishes their (Boyd and Ronsons) overall tone from Carr.


  3. I think this is a unique connection between the two books. Boyd’s definition of bullying is very similar to the cases that Ronson talks about in his book. All the elements are there: interpersonal conflict, and active audience, and social media.


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