Wednesday, December 23, 2015

So You've Been Publicly Shamed - Jon Ronson

Did you ever post something online? A funny picture on Facebook? A comment about a picture? Maybe a short funny tweet? You have a few followers - maybe even a few hundred Facebook "friends" follow your life though your posts. Were you every sarcastic? Maybe you tried to tell a joke but it was better in your head than it was in type. You were kidding right? Everyone who knows you knows that you were kidding. Ever do ANY of these?
Image result for jon ronson so you ve been publicly shamedIf so - stop RIGHT NOW and read this book. I am NOT kidding hence the use of all caps, and the use of hence.
I heard about this book from a TED talk and the Nerdist podcast. On each Ronson shares stories about normal people who made innocuous jokes and suddenly their lives were ruined. How? Read the book. It is about public shaming and our role in it. How are we responsible for public shaming? Read the book.
If you have ever weighed in about some trending topic - an unfortunate picture - a joke that did not land - like a political post and had friends tear you a new one? (Here I go with questions marks again. I am so sorry. I am not a writer. I just like to read) Every time you put a piece of yourself online you are subject to a level of scrutiny that is unparalleled in our history. I should not even be writing this blog.
So what it is about this book that makes me want to rethink my entire digital footprint? I am not telling you - READ THE BOOK already.
Here is what I will tell you. This is the first book I have read by Ronson. I have watched "The Men Who Stare at Goats" and "Frank" (movies based on his books) and I enjoyed them both. His interviews are frank (not the movie), funny and insightful. My favorite parts of the book are where he changes his mind about many stories once he takes the time to do some research and make an informed decision. We cannot do this anymore because so much input comes at us constantly that we are forced to react far too quickly and respond by shooting from the hip. In retrospect we end up looking foolish sometimes when the facts finally reveal themselves.
I am not sure if this was Ronson's intent or not but I will be more considerate of any story I hear - online and in my daily and personal interactions. I will not rush to judgment. I will not pile on and be part of the public shaming he talks about in the book. Hold on - you have not read this book yet? You read this far before taking my advice and reading the book? Shame on you. Kidding.
Um....did you get a sense that I really like this book? And, as is my want (what a weird expression) I will be seeking out his other books soon.

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