Wednesday, February 06, 2013

Taking on the Mob

Today's extended column for the Daily Banter once again examines the subject of the good and bad of our internet outrage culture. Over the past week, we've seen two restaurants attacked through social media for business decisions they've made -- and one story of a really stupid move by a pop star publicist.

Yeah, we love it. But has it gotten out of control? Or was it never under control to begin with?

Here's the opening shot:

"I caught a decent little documentary on Netflix last week called Heckler. It attempts to document the contentious relationship between comics and comic actors and those paying comedy club patrons who take it upon themselves to confront them during their sets, hoping to, I guess, get the upper hand in a battle they’re sure never to win. At least that’s the way it starts. What the movie eventually evolves into, though, is an examination of every kind of criticism those who put themselves out there as performers have to endure in the internet age: from the traditional art of criticism that’s degenerated into an 'anyone can do it' mentality to the legion of snarky anonymous trolls who turn the comment section of every internet post into an ugly flamewar.

Keep in mind, given that Heckler was made all the way back in 2007, an eon ago in terms of social media development and proliferation, it barely scratched the surface of how vicious it is out there. These days, internet outrage is an everyday fact of life — one that’s been honed to a scalpel’s edge. If anything you do is public, you need to understand that your good reputation, success, even personal respect in the community exists solely at the mercy of the largess — or at least ignorance — of the internet millions. And here’s the catch: Everything you do is public — thanks to the internet. Whether you know it or not, you’re likely under surveillance, a permanent self-sentenced inmate in a digital version of Bentham’s Panopticon. If you’re not sitting alone in the panic room you built in your basement, making the mistake of thinking no one’s watching you can be a near-fatal one."

Read the Rest Here


brite said...

Well now this is a thing...

MJG said...

"giant, galaxy-swallowing event horizon of ego that is Beyoncé"

Truer words were never spoken - the woman could school Aretha on being a Diva.

Claude Weaver said...

In defense of Beyonce's publicist, there have been cases where artists went to the internet and successfully argued for people not to pirate their work or harass them.

Of course, they were usually lower in exposure and cultivated internet fandoms. Oh and they asked personally, rather than use a publicist. Still, it wasn't all THAT insane.

If anything, that publicist should have remembered the Streisand Effect. If they don't teach that in public relations courses on day one, they are setting up their students to fail HARD.

It is really like walking on eggshells nowadays. And the weird thing is, the outrage is so arbitrary. There is no rhyme nor reason to it. There is no one thing you can do to avoid it and stay remotely involved with computers or society. Some of the biggest crimes in the world (remember Kony? Yeah, they don't either) get treated with the same level of indignation as a random bakery not wanting to serve a customer.

The internet is a wonderful, mysterious, batshit crazy thing. It truly represents the defining characteristic of humanity: our utter incomprehensibility.

J. Dack said...

Turns out Chelsea Welch was the reddit user and co-worker of the waitress who posted the image, not the waitress who got stiffed.

And she apparently quit, rather than being fired.