Human VS Technology: Who is the Menace

Jon Ronson makes the comment that social media is one of the least democratic courts that can prosecute someone. The people on display, on trial, often do not have the ability to defend themselves, because any attempt as explanation or defense is often met with more backlash and anger. No one wants to help defend a person, for fear that the violence and aggression might be diverted their way. The evidence of an infraction, something difficult to even define, is left public for anyone to see and join in on what Ronson questions might be a “Kangaroo court.”

Ronson of course does not ignore the merits of the internet and of the act of public shaming. He mentions the unemployed couple who was finally released from an L.A. Fitness membership because of public response. However, he seems to indicate that public shaming has shifted from people shaming big corporations who may otherwise escape judgement and the consequences of their actions to individuals online searching for someone to shame. This is shown explicitly (pun sort of intended) in the chapter “Journey to a Shame Free Paradise.” Here the private lives of various individuals was put on display, often times causing suicide. In the case of Max Mosley details of his dalliances were purposefully altered to produce scandal and public response. There are ideas that he explores about this inclination to ruin someone online, such as the power struggle producing cruelty. One thing that I’ve noticed is that he tries to find the balance between human impact on machine and machine impact on humans. He incorporates the human aspect to it, bringing back the common practice of public shaming as a legal punishment. However he also notes that things like twitter and Facebook have made it easier to effectively ruin people’s lives.

I thought that boyd was definitely more pro technology and the interactions that take place on the internet. To her it was not bullying that was taking place on the internet, but a debate. However, she had at the time been describing teenagers. What she wants to stress is the human aspect of activity online. People have always bullied and shamed, but the internet has made it more visible. She also stresses that the internet has become a scapegoat for these social issues. People will focus on the fact that cyberbullying was involved but often ignore other issues. She discusses this at length when she brings child predator online, explaining that youths who are susceptible to that sort of danger online are also the sort to be in danger in the physical world. These are neglected children, already in risk. It ignores social issues that were already present. She, also like Ronson, discusses the selectivity of what people give their attention to online. Ronson saw a comment about rape go entirely unnoticed because it was directed toward shaming someone who was already being shamed. Boyd tells the story of a girl who released a video about her life and how she was ready to kill herself. She had been requesting help, but the video only became viral after her death and used in arguments about the dangers of cyberbullying, ignoring other factors that contributed to her decision.

Author: meligibs

I am an English Major because I enjoy reading and writing. I am considering a Minor in Museums Studies or in History because I like art, both looking at it and trying to make it, and learning about the past. Hope to use the skills I acquire here to become a published professional writer, like a novelist or to publicize exhibits

One thought on “Human VS Technology: Who is the Menace”

  1. I definitely think Ronson talked more about public shaming done to individuals more than shaming done to companies in his book. But I don’t think that companies can escape the judgement anymore than individuals can. If anything, I think that companies are scrutinized more than individuals are. They have a larger responsibility to represent themselves in an appropriate and acceptable way, and when they don’t, users will take them down.


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