I’ve been reading Jon Ronson’s book So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed which tells the stories of people who’s lives have been ruined over various levels of mistakes.
You can read a few of these examples in an article published by Ronson for the New York Times last year. One of these tales is of Justin Sacco who made an inappropriate AIDS joke on Twitter right before a plane ride. Her life was subsequently ruined: lost job, was shunned by her family and received numerous death threats. Her personal brand (or more commonly known as Google Search results) now is forever associated with that stupid tweet.
What this book made me realize is that I’m also quick to judge people on social media and the mob mentality can be very addicting and controlling. People on the internet seem to live on the mistakes people have made, not knowing the lives they may affect through shaming.
I know I personally make mistakes on a daily basis but this “Big Brother” thing where people are always watching is scary. For now on, I’m going to be more considerate before jumping on the internet hate wagon.
In Ronson’s book the shamers often quote themselves saying they “did the right thing” but should the right thing be ruining someone’s life or wishing them dead? I think no, and we need to learn to empathize and educate people instead of taking them down.
After a lot of pointless back and forth with Kobo, I finally received a replacement device for my broken one. It’s not something they usually do but they were nice enough to consider it after how upset I was that mine couldn’t be fixed (even for money!).
Took a sick day today so this came with perfect timing so that I can continue staying in bed.
It would’ve been super weird to say maybe a few years ago, but I met some of my best friends on the internet. I thought it would be very hard to revamp the friend wheel post-school but the web makes it so much easier to find people with similar interests. Often you know what they’re like before you even meet up in person.
But how do you hang out in real life? you may ask. It can start with an invitation to coffee or a meet up with a group of people. The web has made going up to randoms a little bit easier with the phrase, “Hey, I follow you on Twitter!”
Yesterday I went to a Jazz Cartier secret show as an invited guests. Other people cryptically texted a number in a photo and went through a series of clues to get in. As soon we entered, we were told there was no photos or video to be taken. No snapchat or anything allowed.
“Aw crap,” I thought as I had come to this event alone, not knowing if anyone I was familiar with would be attending. After-all it was an exclusive event.
We walked up the stairs to people dressed as hotel stewards, who took our names and coats. On the tables were typewriters as well as roses. The setup was elaborately thought off for the album launch. I absorbed it all in with my eyes instead of my phone.
I had a bit of anxiety trying to figure out what to do since I didn’t see any of my friends around and I couldn’t have a camera to keep me distracted before the show started so I started to talk to people and met some new folks.
I’ve been in the industry for a years now but I still get anxious talking to new people. I’ll have weird thoughts like what if they hate me? or am I wearing the wrong shoes? or how do I not talk about the weather? Like all things, these diminish with practice and I do want to get better at it. The easiest thing is to go somewhere where no cameras are allowed, failing that, just putting the phone down for a little bit is enough.
It’s no secret here that I talk openly about mental health. Every January, I have participated in #BellLetstalk, a campaign where Bell will donate 5 cents to mental health programs with every tweet that has the hashtag. There’s a lot of people out there who are rightly critical about the corporate agenda, but as I spoke last year, one day is better than none.
I would’ve killed to feel less alone in 2009, to read the tweets of thousands of millions of people who were in similar situations. It would’ve been wonderful to read the tales of how some overcome their illnesses or how others live with them. I shared my own battle with anxiety here. There was a period of time where I thought exiting this world would be easier than staying in it.
Thankfully, I am still here and willing to share my stories so that I can save someone else’s life. That’s why this day is important. If somebody reads a tweet and it saves their life, even if it’s one person, even if it was because of a stupid corporate hashtag, it is worth it in the end.