So You have been Publicly Shamed by Jon Ronson is a book that addresses a conversation that should be happening amongst people who vent their spleens on social media. With the power of anonymity, people can go online and join mobs to tear down real human beings without any thought or care for repercussions.
Thus I had an expectation that this book would be a cautionary tale about making public posts that could be taken out of context or to think twice about posting a joke that most wouldn't consider funny. However, the author did a great job of presenting both sides of the situation and neither were pretty. He shared a half dozen examples of online situations where people were “shamed” and follows up with them to see how those online experiences have spilled over to their real lives. Online mobs can be a very terrible thing and there is currently no legal protection from them.
I appreciated that the author never took a side but I couldn't help noticing that the women offenders had to deal with significantly more ramifications. I also noticed that from the main two male examples, their wives endured the shaming just as much as them. This seems to be an area for continued novel exploration. Even though I had very little sympathy for the offenders regarding the offensive acts themselves, I wouldn't want anyone to experience the attacks/aftermaths of global massive online mobs. I believe the author presented snippets of situations to spur readers to think about what is happening on the World Wide Web.
Now a New York Times bestseller and from the author of The Psychopath Test, a captivating and brilliant exploration of one of our world's most underappreciated forces: shame.
'It's about the terror, isn't it?'
'The terror of what?' I said.
'The terror of being found out.'
For the past three years, Jon Ronson has travelled the world meeting recipients of high-profile public shamings. The shamed are people like us - people who, say, made a joke on social media that came out badly, or made a mistake at work. Once their transgression is revealed, collective outrage circles with the force of a hurricane and the next thing they know they're being torn apart by an angry mob, jeered at, demonized, sometimes even fired from their job.
A great renaissance of public shaming is sweeping our land. Justice has been democratized. The silent majority are getting a voice. But what are we doing with our voice? We are mercilessly finding people's faults. We are defining the boundaries of normality by ruining the lives of those outside it. We are using shame as a form of social control.
Simultaneously powerful and hilarious in the way only Jon Ronson can be, So You've Been Publicly Shamed is a deeply honest book about modern life, full of eye-opening truths about the escalating war on human flaws - and the very scary part we all play in it.