Thursday, February 12, 2015

Remember Justine Sacco?

Somewhat Attractive 30ish blonde PR Exec.  2 years or so ago she tweeted out:
“Going to Africa. Hope I don’t get AIDS. Just kidding. I’m white!”
and the internet, led by Sam Biddle, exploded in hate.  In today's NY Times Jon Ronson explores the aftermath of her experience and ties it together with a number of other cases including that of Adira Richards.  It's an interesting read and maybe one I should take to heart considering all the stupid crap I post on Twitter, Facebook, and Google+.  The best part is that the author acknowledges the irony of Biddle being fired for his own twitter screwup:
Sacco felt this couldn’t go on, so six weeks after our lunch, she invited Biddle out for a dinner and drinks. Afterward, she sent me an email. “I think he has some real guilt about the issue,” she wrote. “Not that he’s retracted anything.” (Months later, Biddle would find himself at the wrong end of the Internet shame machine for tweeting a joke of his own: “Bring Back Bullying.” On the one-year anniversary of the Sacco episode, he published a public apology to her on Gawker.)
Of course the apology also served as a way to attempt to deflect the anger generated by his own stupidity, but I guess it's a start from someone who has publicly admitted that he stirs outrage just to gather hits on the website:
It was a natural post. Twitter disasters are the quickest source of outrage, and outrage is traffic. I didn't think about whether or not I might be ruining Sacco's life. The tweet was a bad tweet, and seeing it would make people feel good and angry—a simple social and emotional transaction that had happened before and would happen again and again. The minimal post set off a 48-hour paroxysm of fury, an eruption of internet vindictiveness.
Think about that the next time you read a Valleywag post where they are outraged about anything. They don't actually care.  They just want you outraged so they can generate traffic and make money.

Also on the NY Times, an in-depth article looking at a case of College Rape / Sexual Assualt / Impropriety at Stanford.

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