In the book, “So You’ve been Publicly Shamed,” Jon Ronson explains the historical antecedents of online shaming through his exploration of online public shaming experiences. Notably, public shaming is identified as being popular during the colonial era but was slowly phased out years later. However, the shaming phenomenon re-emerged, especially because of the growth of the internet technology in the 21st century. Throughout of his writing, Jon gathers information by interviewing high-ranked government official and other personalities who expressed humiliation through the internet, including Lindsey Stone, Justine Sacco, Ted Poe, and Jonah Lehrer.
It is certainly true to argue that public shamming is real. The rapid growth of the social media has increased interaction among people all over the world, making it easy for renounced personalities to become public figures and attract the great attention (Laidlaw 2). Ronson begins with examining his Twitter handle which is automated and bears the username, @jonronson. Although the account is fed with posts concerning smattering of food as well as party tweets, he neither do not participate in the tweets nor his personal life related to them. His is, therefore, inspired by the fact that as much as he tries to remove the posts, the account creators, infomorph, declines his request. Likewise, Ronson evaluates his interaction with the YouTube which seems to be in his favor (Ronson 67). Generally, the internet provides room for either intentional or unintentional forms of humiliations that may make one t feel unacceptable or insufficient.
Considering the controversial images of Jonah Lehrer and his counterpart, Michael C. Moynihan, contextual evidence can expose ill motivated feelings among people, especially when accompanied by apologies. Actually, making an apology publicly shows some sense of guilt. An example of such an incidence is the televised apology extracted from the conference by John S. and James L. Foundation. Although Lehrer’s speech lacked sincerity and was seen as arrogant, an ideal that explains how much he felt humiliated from the displays through Twitter and over the televisions (Ronson 213). Once, a person is publicly shamed, he or she fights social and emotional pain that originates from self-evaluation or comparison between self-state and social-state (Nosek et al., 45).
Elsewhere, public shaming is identified in the case where Andria Richard exposes the tech developers. Shaming is at this point explained as a vise that can easily lead to loss of jobs as people like Hunk and Richard herself got fired (Ronson 177). In other words, these actions motivate in-fighting and ill-feelings about each other within a workplace and eventually bring about negativities in personalities. Each member tends to feel that the other is responsible for his or her downfall (Nosek et al., 56). To make the matters worse, Robinson expresses his concern on the creative and legal mechanisms that enable people to hide negative search results. Through this aspect of technology, individuals can hide their ill motives through others. For instance, Justine Sacco’s incidence identifies the possibilities of intentional violation of personal attributes through the exposure of personal information on the internet.
All in all, public shamming is real and humiliating. Basing on Laidlaw’s observations, Ronson’s idea is highly positive, having attained a score of about 3.5 out of five on average (Laidlaw 3). Personally, I find it difficult to post some of the ideas I would view as important to share but aggressive and arrogant comments tends to threaten my spirit. It becomes even worse when realizing that majority loves public shamming. For example, landlords and lenders use some sites to complain and exposure their debtors (Laidlaw 3). Similarly, it would be very disappointing for public officer or a celebrity to commit an offence as the news will spread all over the world within a very short time. This is relatively different to the past when social networks were not highly connected. Shamming in todays’ societies haphazardly mix realities with virtual personal or societal images Nosek et al. 82). Therefore, Ronson provides a positive insight on the use of internet, owing in mind that any user can get into a trap. No one is prone or less prone to attack, hence, the need to take precautions and avoid interfering with other people’s business.
Joh Ronson’s, "So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed”. (2019, Oct 10).
Retrieved December 9, 2023 , from
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