So a friend online posted an article about how to deal with online mobs. As we’ve all witnessed, a tweet, a blog post, or a heavily edited video can, and often does, drive a certain quarter into outrage mode without stopping to think whether or not the person initially making the accusation/allegation is actually presenting the truth, or just what they want the rest of us to believe is the truth. That’s really the morbid side of social media. when one person can destroy another’s reputation simply because they disagree with what was said.
The article is titled A Guide to Surviving Your 15 Minutes of Hate and I highly recommend it if you haven’t already perused it by now. There is some good advice for anyone, like the author, who has been attacked by a mob online: mostly what you shouldn’t do in response. I’ve yet to have this experience, and I’m not expecting it, but who does? There were two specific pieces of advice that caught my eye. The first is , Accept That Reason Has Left The Room, meaning don’t engage the mob. It won’t get you anywhere. I would refer to it as not chumming the water when surrounded by sharks. The mob is waiting on it and nothing you can say, at least immediately will satisfy their blood thirst.
The next one is Build a War Room, which is really an excellent idea. Have your friends and family members monitor what’s happening online. One part of this I thought was interesting is the part where you read, or hear,, in a news report that the reporter states that you could not be immediately reached for comment, or even better, that they tried to contact you, and you didn’t immediately return their call. Notice how in both examples, the word “immediately” is used. I’ve always found that suspicious because to me that means that, like the author of this article, no one actually attempted ( I actually know a person that experienced this), or that they did attempt, but then went to air, or press based on a deadline. Maybe the person was out when they called. Plus, making a single attempt is not a good journalistic practice.
Saying, “We attempted several times to speak with [person] and our calls were not returned before [press/air] time would make the story more believable in my opinion. It’s not entirely the media’s fault though. They see something trending on Twitter and really want to get the story out – first – even though the story may be incomplete, or more likely, false..
It’s those that cannot accept independent thought that are to blame. They are the ones that turn a tweet, or a blogpost, or a podcast into a form of hate, and those are the same ones that consider anything outside what they believe to be correct thought, heresy, and they’ll be damned if they let anyone get away with anyone straying from the accepted narrative, whether that narrative is true or not.
It really is time that we put an end to episodes like the above linked article. We need to be able to accept that others may have different views on topics in which we have some currency. We need to stop attacking and start debating. In the end, no one wins with the former and everyone becomes enlightened with the later.