The Internet is a scary place. We live in a world where online harassment is a very real thing. And for every major news item like GamerGate at SXSW, there are thousands of smaller instances of pure hatred from behind the keyboard.
The 24/7 news cycle and publishers’ insatiable appetite for page views and click throughs has given rise to sponsored hatred all around the web. But the worst comes not from the publishers themselves, but from the comments. As they say, everyone is a tough guy when they’re behind a screen.
Today, formerly great “tech blog” Mashable ran a story about an Australian woman who posted her winning lottery ticket on social media. The ticket code was promptly stolen and redeemed, causing her to become Australia’s “biggest loser” per Mashable.
Now I’m not here to debate whether it’s smart to post your lotto ticket online. Obviously it’s risky and this girl paid the price. And there is a legitimate conversation to be had about the need for educating young people about what and when to share so share with 800 of your closest friends.
But that does not warrant the treatment this woman is receiving from a major news outlet like Mashable — or its comments section.
Take these examples of unsolicited online hatred by people who think they’re above making mistakes:
Some prefer simple, straightforward hate:
To be fair, not all comments are so harsh. In fact, one comment sums up the point of this post:
It’s a sign that social media addiction is real (via MediaPost):
According to the Athens Banner Herald of Athens, Ga., over the weekend a female student from the University of Georgia broke into a house to use a laptop to check her Facebook account. The perpetrator, who has yet to be identified by name, was discovered by the homeowner, a 33-year-old woman, as she returned from lunch around noon on Sunday. The 18-year-old blond student apologized, gathered her belongings, and left the woman’s house without managing to close her Facebook page — so Athens police know exactly who she is, although they’re not publicizing her name (perhaps to spare her endless social media mockery).
I’m assuming her phone was dead. We’re all aware of the implications that social networking and “text culture” have on interpersonal communication — especially in younger millennials. But perhaps common sense is now something that needs to be taught?
Barstool already has this one covered.
A new low indeed.
I had a realization last night: Reality TV of today is a lot like WWF in the early 90’s. Big personalities, big role in pop culture. And most importantly: People don’t realize (or don’t admit) that it’s scripted.
What will happen when they do? I’m sure some folks will continue to watch, with a wink and a grin. Wrestling actually peaked in popularity in large part because they admitted the stories were scripted. Now, I liken it to a male soap opera as performed by ethnically diverse stuntmen in their undies.
But how will the reality TV game adjust once that veil crumbles? Will folks still watch, knowing that Honey Boo Boo is put up to all she does? That the Housewives of Random Top 10 Media Market are being told to fight by their faceless producers and idiocratic enablers?
I don’t have the answer. What I do know is that the state of pop culture can’t go on forever as is, and that’s a good thing.
Apparently, this is news in 2012:
Coming up next, Khloe Kardashian will blow bubbles through a straw.
No such thing as a sure thing.